In the Garden

Flowers

My grandmother died on December 27th, 2019. As I reminisced about her during my sudden absence from blog world, I thought about her garden.

“Come down and get you some squash.”

“Come down and get you a mess of beans.”

“Come down and get some of these tomatoes—I got too many.”

I’m willing to bet most of my relatives have heard these words coming over the phone from my grandmother, Ruth. They were utterances of a joyful labor, of a work that brought great gifts and symbolized an even greater love. She grew so many vegetables and fruits, and I don’t think there was a gardening method she hadn’t tried, tested, and judged. I remember looking forward to our own summer corn just to get some of that delicious Peaches n’ Cream variety a week or two early from her. I remember the size of the beans she grew, and some of those enormous tomatoes weighed so heavy on the vine until ripe.

As Jesus said,

3 And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow;
4 And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up:
5 Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth:
6 And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.
7 And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them:
8 But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.
—Matthew 13:3-8

The parable speaks of a grain growing on its own, but Mamaw knew something more about how plants worked, and her example shows the truth behind these verses. My grandmother was something special because she prepared the ground to be good. It’s almost never enough to just let it fall where it may and hope for the best, and she knew this moreso than anyone.

Where her seed and plantlings would go, she cleared the way, made sure there was a loamy surface with plenty of fertilizer. Where there was thirsty ground during a drought season, she was prepared with a water hose or a bucket. I remember the relative success of her garden in that scorching summer of 2002, when it barely rained at all during the dog days. I remember the ever-constant battle against deer and squirrels, how she’d even collect human hair from a salon and strew it about to scare off the menaces. She’d prune the suckers off tomatoes, cut out the unyielding pieces and tend the good branches.

Mamaw knew how to tend a garden. She knew how to make the way for her plants, knew how to create the good soil rather than expect it to just be there or expect the field to remain suitable throughout tyhe growing season.

If you know a good person and a Christian by their fruits, then her works make it obvious. Her garden alone was a significant labor and a source of her charity. She may have been quiet, sometimes she may not have said the right thing, but these were just words and that wasn’t how she showed love anyway. She showed it through a basket of squash, through a full stomach, through hard work.

And so she also prepared the soil for other fruit. I’m the second youngest of her grandchildren (my brother is the youngest), so I unfortunately knew her for the shortest time. But this also meant she’d had the time to create a fertile soil for me to grow. I saw it yesterday with all my cousins, of which there are many, how much her influence has carried through generations. She sang in the choir, enjoyed my efforts at Amazing Grace (lord how I cried when we sang that at the funeral), and planted in all of us a love of Christ.

6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
—Proverbs 22:6

There were children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren all present yesterday, most (if not all) of them believers. How can the soil she prepared not have been fertile? For her ways to pass down through so many generations, to be known and cherished and followed? She gave so much to see them all grow, to bring forth fruit and to grow in ways someone of her generation could not imagine. Through a birth in the twenties, obvious privations during the Depression, hard times during the war, sons who were coming of age dangerously close to the Vietnam draft, and quickly changing technology as time passed, she practiced values such as thrift and perseverance. She remained a steadfast constant despite all the clutter.

She produced children who valued work, craftsmanship, and charity. Those children brought forth more who followed in those footsteps, and impressed upon them new values like education in addition to those she espoused. Those grandchildren, of which I am one, have done much to further her goals and pile upon her glories and lauds. The great-grandchildren, too, will remember these things and aim for successes and fruits which she never had the ability or resources to get for herself.

And, most importantly, they will remember the life she lived, the garden she grew, the soil she tended for them. Those who are yet to come may not see her efforts, but they will be there, fertile and deep beneath their roots.

People who read this will probably know my familial relationships have been strained, but God knows she meant a lot more than as just a person who gave me food. I hadn’t left her on a bad note, but her advanced age kept her in a pocket of the world I didn’t want to tread for several years. Still, I remember some things that I alone could share with her; one which people will chuckle at was that she, *she* alone stoked in me a fascination with American presidents. When I was young, she gave me a poster and told me that I “needed to know my presidents.” It had all their pictures, the dates of the presidencies, and then a list of facts such as vice presidents and first ladies. I absolutely loved this poster, and I read about these people in the encyclopedia. Granted, my obsession with Jackson came later, but I doubt that essential quality of me would have been so vivid without her. She valued knowledge more than she let on, and she knew what she wanted other people to learn if only they would listen to her acts moreso than her words.

For now, I must cry and know that I can’t see her anymore. She may be gone from here, but I remember her, and I hope to tend those fruits of thrift, perseverance, and charity. I hope that her garden continues to bloom and bear.

And I know it will because Christ spoke,

15 1 I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.
2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.
3 Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.
4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.
5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
—John 15:1-6

And what an incredible thought. Since she abided in Jesus, and thus in God, she’s now working with the greatest gardener of all.

Divider

The photo was taken by me at the dinner following my grandmother’s viewing and funeral. I took the picture so I could show my brother, who wasn’t able to come, the quality of the flowers we’d bought for a true Southern lady’s funeral. It was amazing how everyone imagined her as spring and chose flowers to match that despite her fall birthday, November wedding, and cold, Christmas death.

Mamaw Ruth was my father’s mother, and I’ve spoken about her here on WordPress before, but not in detail. She was a complex person, and not even this (which is a Facebook post I made but then cleansed of too much identifying information) is a good representation.

Y’all blogging weirdos can expect a surprise Southern Gothic month coming up. I’m not feeling cheerful.

Blogger Recognition Award

I would like to thank Colleen Chesebro of Word Craft for nominating me for this award/game. If you’d like to read her very sweet and awesome responses, you can do so here! I really do enjoy these sorts of games, so anyone who wants to tag me in this sort of thing can do so.

If I nominate/tag you and you want to participate in the game, here’s the rules:

  • Thank the blogger(s) who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  • Write a post to show your award.
  • Give a brief story of how your blog started.
  • Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers.
  • Select up to fifteen bloggers you want to give this award to. (No response required).
  • Comment (or pingback) on each blog to let them know that you’ve nominated them and provide a link to the post you’ve created.

It won’t hurt my feelings if you don’t want to participate! If you’re here reading, though, it’d be great if you could choose one or two blog posts tagged at the end of this.

How Did I Start My Blog?

I actually started the blog in 2013 with the short story Waiting for Company. It was a Southern Gothic horror based strongly on my grandmother, and it’s so bad. So, so bad. You can read it if you want to know how far I’ve come. I then published several more shorts, then the short novels Evolution of the Predator and If I Only Had No Heart, both of which you can download as a PDF by clicking on the links. All during this time, though, I wasn’t very serious; the blog was mostly a place where I could leave stories, have a link, and email that link to my mom so she could read them.

Then, in January 2018, she told me she’d never clicked on a single link I’d sent. She’d never read a single story and didn’t have plans to, no matter how many I sent.

That was about the time If I Only Had No Heart went up. I was pretty depressed after my mom said that, so I decided to see what blogging was really about and start connecting with other people.

Speaking of Connecting…

My first piece of advice to new bloggers is to connect with other bloggers. You never know who is going to come up with something so creative and helpful that you must love it.

What’s hard about getting into that mode is the time it takes to build these connections. Yes, it will entail reading and commenting on other blogs. Yes, it will mean paying attention to other people. But the payoff in friendship and camaraderie was worth it for me.

Decide What is “Worth It”

So it was worth it for me.

But it might not be worth it for you.

You can only do so much social media before your ability to function explodes. Blogging, while my favorite social media, does take up quite a bit of time. So, if you decide to blog, come up with a goal for it. Is it to have 5,000 followers in a month (lol, good luck)? Is it to sell your books? Is it to meet other people and learn about your craft? It doesn’t matter what you want out of it so much as understanding what is possible and understanding if the effort you need to put in is worth the reward.

If it’s not worth it? Don’t be afraid to quit. Your blog will be here if you want to come back later.

Some Excellent Posts to Read

I’m behind on my reading, but here’s a few posts you’ll want to see by authors you’ll want to follow. Technically, this is the “nomination/tag” section, but once again I’d like to say that no one I’ve tagged has to continue this, no do they have to like or comment or any of that jazz.

  • Kevin Parish’s Daddy – An absolutely heartbreaking poem. I’ve long had a terrible relationship with my dad, and this one got to me because of the goodness and strength of the titular father.
  • Chelsea Owens’s A Starving Writing Muse – A clever piece about writing, recent motherhood, and toilet humor, I enjoyed reading this piece quite a lot. Chelsea’s hilarious and fun to follow.
  • Joanne Fisher’s Gnome Help – Cute as fuck flash fiction that made me feel cozy to read. She often has great poetry and flash, and many of her love stories are lesbian, which can offer you a fresh perspective to read about.
  • Charli Mills’s Carrot Ranch Writing Prompts – In addition to Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday prompts (Colleen nominated me), the Carrot Ranch is a great community to join. Check out the most recent prompt and consider joining yourself!
  • Aak Fictionspawn’s Crystal Clear – Honestly you guys, I need more people to read this and solve the riddle. I think I was close.
  • Crispina Kemp’s Raised Against Us – This was such a poignant story. I thought the twist was really good. As well, check out her Crimson’s Creative Challenge writing prompt!
  • Lorraine Ambers’s Blogging, Social Media, and Marketing Tips – Lorraine is one of those great bloggers who gives out good advice articles. I always look forward to her tips and tricks.
  • Alexander Eliot’s Dragon Series – A long ongoing series with a great Mid-Grade or YA feel. Tackles some more difficult subjects along the way and has great monster building.
  • Violet Lentz’s Stories of the Forgotten – Violet’s stories always have an intensity to them that you just don’t get with other blogs. This one will hit you in the feels like a bus.
  • Ari Meghlen’s Should You Plan Out Your Whole Year? – Ari Meghlen’s blog is great because she makes her life story and brand so exciting. I love watching how she chooses to do things and trying to figure out how she makes it look so cool.
  • Jules’s Gnawing Chills – A great poem about squirrels that I think will give you some good feelings.
  • Hannah Russell’s Reading Games – I love following this blog because it keeps me inspired to read more. I think it’s done more to make me want to read than any other set of reviews.
  • tnkerr’s Midriff Culture – I thought this one was pretty funny, if a bit risque and a wee bit old-school. A great blog to follow for occasional flashes and fun times!
  • D. Wallace Peach’s blog – I can’t pick out a post, but I love Peach’s work. Everything she writes is fantastic, and you should follow her. Also has great indie book reviews. Didn’t link to a post because they’ve probably been nominated.
  • Sue Vincent’s blog – another blog with a ton of great posts. I especially like her Midnight Haiku series. Didn’t link to a post because they’ve probably been nominated before.
  • Roberta Cheadle’s blog – Fantastic reviews and responses to prompts. I know for certain they’ve been tagged in this game, so I didn’t link to a post.

So, there you have it! Please check out some of the suggested content and start conversations with someone new!

Also, sorry for forgetting the title, for those of you who get the email updates… 😦

Where the Heck You Been, H.R.R.?

Good goobledy goop, where has your favorite Southerner and generic troll gone? Why have you seen only my promised book reviews as of late?

Well, I am very pleased to present to you my October Update and let you know what I’ve been doing.

Dr. H.R.R. Gorman

You heard that right. I’m now officially a doctor.

giphy

If you thought I would eventually reveal my sex/gender by using a nice M(x,r,s,rs) in front of my name, you’re now faced with the impressively non-descriptive title of “Doctor.” And, no, I’m not one of those doctors that help people. I’m a doctor of chemical engineering, and I’m selling my soul to big pharma. You’re welcome.

I still have to submit the dissertation to my school, but that means all that remains is some formatting nonsense and yelling at the grad school to just suck it up.

Since I just defended on the 29th, I supposed I’d have the time to make a life update post. Hopefully now I can jump back on my normal blogging schedule and catch up with everyone again!

On the Writing Front

Lucky for me, there’s been the Carrot Ranch Rodeo this month. That’s allowed me to come up with some cool beans flash fiction to submit to the contest, but that also meant all my usual blog-writing time went into stuff for the contest.

Did I do well? I dunno. I’m generally depressed and negative about myself (thank you grad school), but we’ll see. Some of the prompts were hard, and others I convinced myself that I couldn’t possibly be the best with a wide-open prompt. Others I was like “Oh hell, my dissertation/defense needs attention.”

giphy-2

Pictured: Basically all of grad school, but especially the last 2 months.

However, I’ve spent some time working on one of my favorite writing projects of all time. At ~45k words, my work titled Manifest Destiny is entirely unpublishable in a traditional context. It’s also pretty much the length it needs to be. I have seen zero places to publish something of that length.

So what am I going to do with it? Maybe self-publish. Maybe stick a nice cover on it and get it bound for my own damn self. I also already wrote most of a sequel (lololol I’m crazy for doing something so insipid), so maybe I could stick together 3 books (ok, yeah, I’ve got plans for book 3… and 4…) into one epic fantasy. I’m not going to lie, it’s probably one of the most fun things I’ve ever created.

Reading and Stuff

I’ve done alright with reading. I got through a couple books that I had no business reading (i.e. were not on my list of planned books), and I’m not sure if I want to review them. I have 1 book left to read for this year’s reading, and I’ve already started getting through some of next year’s books. Actually, I’ve read quite a lot of next year’s books… Wow.

Next Month’s Plans

It’s NaNoWriMo and I have like no work because I don’t quite have a job lined up! Lol! So I’m going to buckle down and write the third book in my insane series. I plan on posting some snippits of Manifest Destiny, the first book/part of a book, and perhaps some of book two, Demons Without, Devils Within while I finish that and work on book 3, The Corrupt Bargain.

 

People Who Don’t Read

Recently on Twitter, I’ve been seeing a few tweets where people complain about their fellow humans failing to read. The complaints indicate a frustration with people’s continued decrepity and closedness of mind. While this was the sort of reasoning people gave, I think complaint is about something different.

I think people want other people to read the books they worked so hard to write. I think authors want to get that jazz from making someone happy. I think authors want to see any possibility of making money from their product. One way to make money and gain reviews is to solicit people who read a lot; another is to expand the market base.

Anyway, it got me to thinking, and here’s my two cents: I don’t think people should be forced to read.

Let me blow your mind.

giphy

Kids Shouldn’t Be Forced to Read

I made that the title of the section to rile you up. I do think children should be taught to read as early as possible, and I do think they should be encouraged – however, I don’t think they should be expected to read an assigned book of the teacher’s, school’s, or state’s choice quite so early.

Children who learn to read earlier have the opportunity to read what they want while the teachers beat the other kids into understanding the symbols. This gives them the time to realize what a gift reading is, how fun it can be. I was one of those kids, and it took me a long time to understand why other kids didn’t like reading.

giphy-1

The other kids? As soon as they’re able to trudge through some words, they’re forced to begin analyzing crap they didn’t choose. There is no fun involved, no encouragement to own the skill. Rather than having the time to increase reading comprehension with enjoyable stories, they’re thrown into doing more work. When reading becomes work, it becomes less fun.

I saw this with my younger brother. I think he’s probably about as smart as me, but he’s always found it hard to sit still. Reading was hard for him because he didn’t see the point and just wanted to go play. When he did learn to read, he was immediately forced to read books he wasn’t interested in. To him, reading seemed a chore.

And it has ever since.

That Crap Carries Over to Adulthood

If you find reading to be hard and unenjoyable when you’re in school, what happens when you graduate and realize you’re not going to be tested on it later?

As my brother said upon receiving his high-school diploma, “Mom, I’ll never have to read again!”

And can I really blame him? He was miserable doing homework. He hated every second of school. I wouldn’t want him to have to essentially get triggered by being forced to do something he associates with anguish.

giphy

So if people don’t want to read, I can’t fault them. Just like you might not have enjoyed PE, some people can’t stand other subjects.

I’m not a fan of forcing adults to read, or even shaming them for not reading. You don’t know why they choose not to read.

Get Your Head Out of Your Wallet

Squidward Life Goals

Or out of your reviews, if that’s what you’re more concerned about.

I do understand that apprehensions about overall literacy are real. I understand that a broader or deeper education in the arts is important to appreciating the cultural and human conditions around you. But these are problems not solved by complaining about “people who don’t read.” These are problems we solve by a combination of efforts to make reading enjoyable.

And making reading enjoyable is a huge burden that authors are suited to help fix.

Write what you want to read. Make it enjoyable for you, if no one else. Write such that someone who may not have picked up a book in ten years would kindle or rekindle that creative spark. Don’t convince yourself that your target audience doesn’t read. Convince yourself that your target audience has just never read something they’d want to read.

And about the money – sure, it’s an issue. Authors don’t make enough of it. But don’t let that get you mad at people who won’t buy your product. Don’t let being a salesperson ruin your desire to express.

Sad Day in the H.R.R. Gorman Life

If you follow me on Twitter, you may have seen that I’m currently writing my PhD dissertation (I defend in October).

giphy-2

Sadly, this has meant that I’ve been VERY busy and, worse, have ergonomically injured my hands. I decided to give up most Twitter ‘work’ because at least this would reduce my writing load by something.

Up until now, I’ve tried to do as much reading and commenting on WordPress as I could, but the conditions have gotten worse. Now it’s both my hands experiencing different symptoms (thank God neither are like carpal tunnel symptoms). I took a couple days off this weekend and they felt better, but after yesterday I went back to square one.

Sadly, I think I’m going to have to cut back on some WordPress things because I simply can’t type that much without destroying my hands. Unfortunately, this is going to mean comments go first. I’ll still do some, but I probably won’t do some of the more banal ones (a.k.a. the ones that are just “this is good!” or “I liked this!”). I think it’s more important for me to try keeping my creative mind working, so I’ll try to make blog posts during this time until I don’t have any more dissertation to write.

Don’t feel bad if I don’t respond to your stuff for a while. I’m not trying to be mean – I just can’t do it.

Best wishes,

H.R.R. Gorman

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.

giphy

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!

Mysterion

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.

giphy

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.

H.R.R. Gorman’s Real Life Review: Taking a Bath

Amazon evidently found out that my current Kindle is suffering from battery life issues and general oldness.  As a result, I’ve been getting advertisements for a new Kindle that sports the quality ‘waterproof.’

Now, don’t get me wrong – I can appreciate a water-tight seal as much as anyone – but I wondered… why would a waterproof Kindle be a good idea?  You can’t easily fit them in a pocket and accidentally send them through the wash.  So I looked it up: why does a Kindle need to be waterproof?

And I found out people often read in the bathtub.  

hell no

First, I haven’t taken a bath (I shower instead) since I had chicken pox in 2001.  So, in this post, I present to you my review of reading in the bath.

Part 1: Figuring Out the Tub

Like I said, it’s been a long time.  I haven’t needed to stop a drain in so long, so how do I work this damn plug?

Ah, there.  Now to run the water.  I’m aware of evaporative properties and heat loss by natural convection, so I assume it’s going to need to be raging hot coming out of the pipe, hotter than what I normally shower in.

Shitfuckdamn that was the wrong decision… let me run some cool…

There.  Bearable.

Part 2: Setting up a Playlist

If I’m going to spend the time to do this, I might as well do it right. I’m going to set a playlist to bathe by.

  1. Metronomy – Salted Caramel Ice Cream
  2. Skinshape – Don’t Call My Name
  3. Still Corners – The Trip
  4. Metronomy – The Look
  5. Beach House – Space Song
  6. Skinshape – I Didn’t Know

When the songs run out, I’ll know that I need to get out or turn into a raisin. The links are to the Youtubes of the songs if you care.

Part 3: Bath Bomb

My in-laws did stockings this year where everyone gets a small gift for everyone else’s stocking.  With 16 people coming to Christmas, we got everything from Chewy bars to food-shaped erasers to hot sauce to bath bombs.  My father in law bought everyone 20 feet of parachute cord and a sheet of plastic because he’s either nuts or one of my favorite people.

Fuck it.  I’m going to toss my bath bomb in.  My hope is its effect is something between Alka Seltzer and Cesium

Well damn. What a letdown.

Part 4: Am I supposed to wash first…?

I don’t know the answer to this, but I got in the tub without looking it up.  I think I’m supposed to relax first while the water’s still relatively clean.

But it’s not comfortable in here. My legs are too long and there’s nowhere to put them. There’s only one place that feels good to rest my head, but if I put it there the music echoes through the tub and is painfully loud in that corner.

What’s worse? THAT BATH BOMB. Was it made of freaking Crisco? This water feels like grease! And I’m expected to run this down the drain? It’ll probably screw up my pipes and upset the sewage system…

Part 5: Reading

I wiped my hands on the bathmat and reached over to my book which, since I plan ahead, I left on the floor just outside the tub.

I pulled my Kindle up and started reading.  God, it’s not comfortable.  I have to hold up my elbows to keep my non-waterproof olden goldie out of the water. I can understand, now, that people who want to freaking read in a bathtub might want a waterproof book. So, I guess, Amazon wasn’t entirely crazy. Research project accomplished.

I gave up reading pretty quick here, though.

Part 6: Bathing

Well, I might as well clean while I’m here. I held my nose and dunked my head under in order to get my hair wet, but I forgot that would also get it bath bomb greasy. Screw it – hopefully washing would make it better.

It didn’t. Now my bath is just dirty and greasy. My hair also doesn’t feel clean.

Same deal with the soap. Rinsing didn’t feel like it went anywhere.  Though I will admit a bath made it easy to clean my feet.

Are you even supposed to bathe in a bath-bomb bath? What are you supposed to do with it otherwise? Is it even really supposed to go in a bath? Let me know in the comments.

Part 7: Finishing With a Rinse

I don’t feel clean, I’m more upset than relaxed, and I wasted a perfectly good half-hour on bullshit. So I’m going to rinse off and pretend this never happened.

This sucks. I’m never bathing again.  Let’s see if I can actually make it two decades next time.

Sunshine Blogger’s Award

Everyone knows I love these tag-and-question games. They’re a great way to get to know other authors, and I enjoy doing them.

So thank you, Kevin Parish, for nominating me!

I won’t be nominating enough people right now, today, because I’m not sure who enjoys this sort of thing. If you’d like to become a part of my usual tag-game fun list, let me know!

Kevin’s Questions:

  1. What verbal graffiti do you use too much? (Examples: Like…Well anyway… I know, right… Huh… Umm…)
    I think I just curse a lot and make people too scared to listen to the fact I don’t know what I’m doing.
  2. What is your favorite color?
    Plaid. Though, if patterns aren’t allowed, green. The kind of avocado green they used to make refrigerators.
  3. Do you love, hate or couldn’t care less about professional sports?
    Hate professional sports. I find it a waste of GDP and a celebration of toxicity.
  4. What’s the name of your longest-time best friend?
    Gah, that’d probably be my spouse, and I haven’t got permission to share that name on the interwebs.
  5. What’s the funniest nickname you have ever heard?
    This girl in high school went by Lu, and I thought that was a normal, somewhat masculine replacement for Lucille until I was in a class with her. On the first day, the teacher read off the names on the list, did a double take, and said sheepishly, “…Lucifer?” then the girl raised her hand and said, “I go by Lu.”
  6. Do you have a nickname that you can/will share?
    I don’t currently have a nickname. When I was in 4th grade, though, I was Scrooge in our class play of “A Christmas Carol,” and everyone called me “Bah Humbug” or just “Humbug.” I think it stuck for so long because I didn’t like the idea of being a humbug and got overly defensive.
  7. Have you ever started laughing really hard just by thinking about something? If so, and you can remember, what was it?
    Honestly, I laugh whenever I think of this picture of Nicholas Cage:A bad printing of Nicholas Cage
    According to the relevant reddit post, this picture was the result of a printer malfunction. I first saw the image in 2013 and it still makes me belly laugh when I think of it. I have it bookmarked.
  8. What are three of your “bucket-list” to-do’s?
    1. See Rod Stewart in concert
    2. Traditionally publish a book
    3. Figure out the secret to not being constantly miserable or something like that
  9. Would you rather have a lake house or a mountain chalet or something else?
    I’d rather just be a suburban loser who lives walking distance from the grocery store and driving distance from their parents.
  10. What country would you live in if you couldn’t live in the one you live in now?
    I’d diegiphy-1
  11. Do you believe that people can change? Why or why not?
    I believe people can change because I think everyone changes anyway. I think the main thing is that change is extremely slow and, often, that change can have temporary or permanent reversions. Because of this, we often don’t see the the state where people we don’t like fix themselves. We often have to gain distance and lose touch before we can see that change.

My Questions:

  1. What’s the most recent book you’ve read, and did you like it?
  2. How long do indoor plants stay alive in your abode?
  3. How long does your dried laundry wait until it is folded?
  4. A masked madperson puts a gun to your head and says, “You are going to time travel to a year prior to 1900 and live their for the rest of your life, or I will shoot you. You can choose the year and country of residence.” When/where do you travel to, or do you just let this mysterious person shoot you?
  5. Do you have pets?
  6. What is your favorite thing to cook?
  7. Off the top of your head, what book would you reccomend right now?
  8. Should toothpaste be squeezed from the bottom, middle, or top for maximum comfort? Do you follow your own advice?
  9. What are your opinions on breakfast?
  10. What is your optimal bedtime?
  11. Who is your favorite historical figure (must currently be dead)?

My Nominees

I’m nominating you because I thought you might like these games. If you’re not a fan, let me know in the comments and I won’t be offended! I’ll just stop tagging you. 🙂

  1. Hannahconda Blog – Recent post: Make Up Book Tag (look at the post for the funny gifs alone)
  2. Joanne the Geek – Recent post: My Life in Darkness (Seriously, this is a good dark romance. Really interested to see where it ends up!)
  3. Drawing a blank on who else might enjoy these sorts of games. I do want to nominate more people, but I don’t want to make you uncomfortable. Let me know if you want to join in games, and I’ll put you on my list of people to watch!

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

June was a big month for me.  I wanted to share with y’all a few things that I’ve done and maybe get out some hints as to what’s coming next.

giphy

Short Story Submissions

If you remember back in May, I decided to submit a short story somewhere in order to start feeling better about getting rejections.  I sent a story to a quick turnaround journal and, of course, got rejection #1, just like almost everyone.

This month, I wanted to do a few more submissions, so here’s what I did:giphy-2

Chew On This Anthology*

I submitted a short story to a horror anthology about eating scary things.  It’s southern gothic and all kinds of weird.  I hope the editor for this anthology likes the more psychological, Twilight-Zone style of horror.

*Also, this was submitted in May but I’m not sure if I told everyone here.

Three-Lobed Burning Eye Magazine

A weird looking magazine seeking weird-sounding fiction.  I submitted my short story “Disco Demolition Night” because I think it’s basically gold but, unfortunately, is in a really weird genre.  If you have ideas for what to do with historical fantasy, let me know!  I write too much of it for my own good.

Across the Universe Beatles Spec Fic

Like I said above, I write too much alternate history or historical fantasy for my own good.  This anthology specifically wanted a story about the Beatles, and I had an idea that I hoped they’d like.  Well, it was rejected fairly quickly, so you’ll be seeing it on the blog soon because I genuinely don’t think a Beatles themed fanfic will see much success elsewhere!

Jolly Horror

Jolly Horror is making a horror-comedy anthology about cursed items. I wrote a story  and submitted that.  I really enjoyed the little tale, so we’ll see what the editors think.  It’s still historical fantasy, le sigh.

Blog Recap

This month on the blog, I slowed things down.  This will probably be the pace here for a while, because it’s more manageable.  Hopefully the reduced post-load will give me time to develop more professional outlets like publishing short stories or finishing new long works.

Here’s a few of my most popular posts from the month you can check out!

Some Things from Real Life

Well, I’ve kept writing things other than the blog – and, since I decided to do fewer posts this month, I used my time well!  I finished the novel I’ve had in my wheelhouse for quite some time.  It’s not ready for alpha readers (I want to have a swing at editing it myself first), but hopefully at the end of July I’ll put it out there for people to take a peek at.  It may be the craziest thing I’ve ever written.

giphy-1

As well, I finished what I believe are the last edits of The Mercury Dimension.  When I feel confident enough and have a short story credit or two to my name, I plan on querying with it.

What are some things you’ve done this month?  Let me know in the comments!  Maybe we can commiserate about the writing life or trade an alpha read! I’ll tell you about the story I finished, American Chimera, if you’re interested.

Changing Things Up for June

Hello everyone!

I’m making some blog changes that I hope you’ll enjoy. If you check any of them out, feel free to tell me what you think!

Better Home Page

I’ve been thinking about my home page.  Sometimes people visit it, but from the stats I gather people don’t think it’s useful.

So look forward to a new home page with better links that will get you into the community quicker.  It should be friendlier to new visitors, and it should give some handy links to experienced users!

New Schedule

I’ve followed my schedule pretty well since January when I invented it.  The blog has also continued to grow since then, and I’m excited to see people joining in the conversation!

However, as more people follow and comment on the blog, I’ve realized it takes more time to respond to comments and seek out other people’s work. In fact, I haven’t found a new blogger (and I mean brand spanking new blogger, not just new to me) in months!  That’s got to be remedied.

In order to better look at other blogs, I’m cutting out my Wednesday ‘Random Prompt’ response.  I’ll continue to do Monday Book Reviews, Tanka Tuesday, Friday Carrot Ranch, and Saturday Weekend Writing Prompt. #CountVlad will show up on some Sundays, and on Thursdays I will do some of the monthly prompts. Hopefully this will cut back on my spam, help me make better articles for you, and leave me more time to focus on community building.

New Branding

One of my favorite looking blog websites is Ari Meghlen’s.  She has consistent logos, branding, and styles.  As I venture out into more professional writing types and styles, I hope to convey that through my blog/website’s appearance.

In order to do this myself, I’ve created my own logo – you’ll be seeing that around!

20190525_Logo_Color_With Words

(And, one day, I might get a paid blog which won’t have the ads! That will help with ‘branding’ and seeming professional.)

New Theme

I’ve used the Lovecraftian theme on WordPress up to now.  Starting today, I will be moving to the Sela theme.  This will allow me to have a better static front page, show my logo more prominently, and have streamlined posts.

New Widgets

I’m finally at a point on Twitter where I don’t feel like a complete loser (just mostly a loser!).  You’ll see Twitter widgets, revamped community widgets, and a few other interesting do-hickeys!

Look for these whimmijigs:

20190525_Community Hands_400x400

Link straight to my prompts page, which I intermittently update.  Jump into a fun corner of the writing community to get started, or find a new way to participate.

20190529_Explore New Worlds_400x400

This will link to my writing page, where you can look at short stories, poems, and flash fiction.

20190529 Hone Your Skills

I have tons of writing resources that I think are pretty good, especially that list of helpful websites and software.  As I venture into a more publishing mindset and learn how to navigate that space, I hope to add information and sites that you might find useful.