Cadillacs and Crocodiles

car vehicle classic american

The little lady showed up at the pump riding a hot-red Cadillac convertible with ostrich leather seats. She put out the cigarette in her ash tray and told me with pouty, vermilion lips, “Fill ‘er up.” She got out and, with her crocodile-skin purse, went into the store.

While she perused the candy shelf and soda fountain, I pumped in the liquid at 10 cents a gallon lamented my paltry pay. Rich people, getting richer off the backs of us poor. I’d like to kick people like her down a couple pegs.

And she’d left her keys in the ignition.

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This was written for the May 28th Carrot Ranch prompt, opposites. I chose Cadillacs and Crocodiles which, beyond starting with C, can come together as representatives of luxury (though alligator would have been better).

Thought I’d join in a prompt right now – don’t know how many I’ll get off in the near future, but this was good enough for now!

Late May Newsletter

Hello, all! I usually do my monthly updates at the beginning of the month, but this time – June 2020 – I decided I needed to do this update a little early!

Why?

Well… you’ll see. ūüėČ

Dark Divinations is out!

DarkDivBanner Dark Divinations Horror Addicts

The first anthology I’ve participated in –¬†Dark Divinations –¬†is available on Amazon! People have asked if they’re doing anything other than Amazon, but I don’t think that’s available right now. Amazon’s the easiest and biggest market right now, but I know they own their own rights and ISBNs, so they could expand in the future if they wish. I’ll update if it changes.

But, in bigger news for the blogging folk, Dark Divinations gave me a great excuse to create new profiles you may not have seen.

My profile pic is now an actual picture instead of the ye olde Grandfather Mountain landscape you’re used to. Now it’s just sexy as hell.

Amazon Author Page and Facebook Page

The¬†Dark Divinations team wanted a recording of us reading our story – and, if you go to my twoFacebook page (sorry, Chelsea, but I loved that term too much to not use), you can watch the video I made and hear a sample of “Miss Mae’s Prayers”.

But don’t expect much out of the Facebook page – I frikkin’ don’t like Facebook, and I feel like just having something on there makes me a hypocrite. Feel free to follow or share it around if you want (I don’t care), but I only plan on using it for truly official crap like when a publisher makes me or if it would really help the anthology out (like making the vid for their watch party).

And! AND! The same publication meant it was time for me to get an Amazon Author Page! It’s just got that anthology for now, but maybe – just maybe – that will grow one day! I’m pursuing the traditional publishing route, though, so I wouldn’t expect that to be soon.

Carrot Ranch Column

My new profile pic actually made a stealth debut in my latest Carrot Ranch column. Check it out down at the bottom!

into the past carrot ranch square

In this column, I talk about a powerful and underappreciated influencer from American history: Sequoyah, the inventor of the Cherokee syllabary. Ride over to the ranch if you want to know more!

Wattpad Journey: OVER

I didn’t make the longlist with my weirdo Wattpad story¬†Our Lady of Perdition, but honestly I didn’t expect it. It’s clearly an adult tale with a ton of symbolism and metaphor that in no way works with the target audience (and, thus, the judges) of the Open Novella contest. I’m actually honored to have made it as far as I did!

So, if you want to read an approx. 20k story about WWII pilots landing on a really terrible island, you can go here!

Our Lady of Perdition

WORK

Ok, I’ll admit it – the big reason I’m not as available now is I got a job. A job making drugs.

I don’t think it will keep me away forever, but the initial push to get myself up to speed and doing well has taken quite a bit of effort. I can feel that stress of being new letting up, but it’s not quite done yet.

(Also, secret secret… I had a video game I wanted to play this month, so even my free time ended up going to complete waste, haha!)

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What all sorts of things have you done this month? Anything you’d like me to check out? Leave them in the comments!

 

The Wood Miser

He had cut down the tree with a chainsaw, dragged it down the hill, and loaded it into the pile with all the rest. It was an oak of high grade – not quite a cherry, but good enough to slice into long boards and sell at a greater profit than the log alone.

The horses were already hitched in, so my son urged them to walk and turn the wheel. The bandsaw jiggled, and we loaded the log onto the carriage. A mighty heave of both man and horse shoved the log one step closer to a finished product.

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This was written for the Carrot Ranch prompt, long board. I’m descended from a bunch of loggers, and my grandfather had used a horse-driven sawmill long past the time when it was typically profitable in the US. But he sold high-quality wood, and he bred good draft horses (Percherons).

A Wood-Mizer, however, is a modern, portable sawmill for small-business loggers. My dad wanted a Wood-Mizer for so long, and I can’t even tell you how many hours of footage of watching people saw logs I have been forced to withstand. Yes, apparently you could at one time buy multi-hour-tapes of people sawing logs.

Rock Concert

artists audience band blue

We screamed at the stage, the speakers so loud we couldn’t hear ourselves. Through the smoky, cocaine-riddled haze, I spotted the Wilson sisters wailing on their guitars.

“Crazy on you-”

I sang in return, mind spinning, body sweating, blood pulsing, lips grinning. I wasn’t sure where all of my pants had gone, and my wallet was probably surfing through the opposite end of the crowd by now. But it had no money in it anyway, and I lived in such a small town the police didn’t need to see my ID when I got pulled.

“Crazy, crazy on you…”

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Do you like Heart? I like Heart.

Do you like concerts?

I’VE NEVER BEEN TO ONE. I had bought tickets to go to my first ever concert in August, but I like old music and, thus, listen to old artists who can’t be coming across the pond so willy-nilly in these dangerous times. So yes, I’m getting pretty bummed out that my chances of seeing Rod Stewart live before he dies are plummeting. So I’m taking out my anger by writing about concerts in the 70’s, whether or not the depiction is accurate.

Written for the Carrot Ranch prompt for April 16th, Crazy.

Photo by Jacob Morch on Pexels.com

Pees-ta

one cheese pizza

“What is this?” asked Papaw. He squinted his glaucoma-weakened eyes, inspecting the food.

“Pizza,” Mama responded. “It’s just bread, cheese, and sauce.”

Mamaw harrumphed then told someone invisible, “This woman’s crazy. I’ll die – it’s poison. Look at how fat she is; I won’t eat her food.”

“Pees-ta,” Papaw said. “Sounds foreign. I was in the war, and I don’t like foreign food-”

“Just eat it,” Daddy commanded. “You’ll get used to it.”

Papaw took a bite, grimaced, and pushed away his plate. “This is for damn Garlic Eaters. I’m not eating this foreign trash.”

Mamaw just cackled. “Poison!”

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I wrote this for the April 2nd Flash Fiction Challenge at the Carrot Ranch: Pizza.

This was based on a real-life event that happened in the late 90’s. My parents were silly and agreed to take my grandparents to Kentucky for a family reunion with my great-great-grand uncle’s branch of the family (they moved to Kentucky from North Carolina in the early 1900’s). At one stop along the way, my parents pulled us all over to a Pizza Hut, and my mom was surprised to find out my dad’s parents had never eaten Italian food before. I might have been, but I was still pretty young.

But think of it this way: IT WAS LIKE 1998 AND THESE TWO RED-BLOODED AMERICANS HAD NEVER TASTED PIZZA.

I still remember that event. “Pees-ta,” they called it. “Pees-ta,” they’d complain again, later in their lives when faced with the villainy of spaghetti with meatballs.

My Mamaw died this past December, but Papaw is still kickin’ around out there, driving despite being 97, nearly blind from glaucoma, and severely disliking Pizza.

Photo by kei photo on Pexels.com

H.R.R. Gorman’s Author Newsletter – March 2020

March has been both good and bad for me – good because I’ve finally gotten my mom into her house (and, subsequently, out of my own), but bad because I still don’t have a job and the fall-apart-economy isn’t going to help me with those prospects.

In terms of writing,  however, I have a couple exciting announcements that I wanted everyone to know about.

History Columnist at the Carrot Ranch

Earlier this month, Charli Mills of the Carrot Ranch offered me the chance to write a history column every other month on her blog. I did a double take, had a heart attack, and thought, “No way, this wonderful thing can’t be happening to me.”

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But I said yes anyway because dang, I love history, I love writing, and this seems exactly like something I wanted to do.

And, wouldn’t you know it, we’re living in a historical time period¬†right now. My first column, “The Not-so-Spanish Spanish Flu“, is already up on the Carrot Ranch! Give it a look see and think about writing a response on your blog!

Thank you, Charli, for this wonderful opportunity.

I Passed Round One of the Open Novella Contest

On Wattpad, there’s this thing called the Open Novella Contest. I learned about it on Sammi Cox’s blog post, so I thought, “What the hell. Her story¬†The Winter Ghost was great last year, and maybe I’ll have fun and learn a new system.”

Our Lady of PerditionSo I’m writing a story called Our Lady of Perdition for the contest. It made it through judging round one which, given the number of people who made it through, probably just means I followed directions and didn’t write something too offensive or extensively bad. However,¬† I am getting close to finishing the story, and I’ll Wattpad-publish the last part of the book once the second round of judging is done.

Blurb:

Two Navy airmen go on a night mission with the hopes of destroying an island outpost before a typhoon makes the attack infeasible. The gunner and the pilot activate their dive bomber’s life raft, but the storm washes them away from their allies – and their enemies. Once the storm clears and the soldiers awaken, they find themselves beached on an uncharted island.

But it soon becomes apparent they didn’t find the island as much as the island found them…

I’m Querying – But I Need Help!

The Mercury DimensionThis was my New Year’s Resolution in 2018, 2019,¬†and 2020. The previous years I did this, I couldn’t follow through. I had the book pretty finished in 2018 but didn’t try querying. I really,¬†really had it finished in 2019, but couldn’t make myself do it. Part of this was trying to graduate, and part was this utter fear of rejection for a book that I worked so hard on. Now, though?

If this book is to go anywhere, I need to act.

This is where you might come in: I wrote a query, got a few of my beta readers (thank you Marnie and Sam!) to help improve it, and am now looking for a couple additional readers.¬†If you haven’t read¬†The Mercury Dimension,¬†I would be extremely appreciative of your help reading the query letter. My goal is to see if someone who doesn’t know the book would understand and be attracted by the blurb.

If you want to read the 1-page document and make suggestions, let me know in the comments or in an e-mail.

*Small update: I’ve gotten some volunteers, so the pressure’s off – but feel free to contact me if you’re super interested anyway!

What Are You Doing?

What kinds of things have you been up to during the quarantine? Got a bunch of writing done? Huzzah!

Caravan Security

desert caravan dune ride

“Now, which of you men have been filching from our caravan?” He put the tip of his scimitar beneath my chin. “I’m not having it.”

I grimaced. Someone had to take charge, fight this maniac if we wanted to live. Al-Rashid approached quietly with a heavy stick, so I distracted with, “Can you prove it wasn’t you?”

“Yes. I’ve got the sword.”

Al-Rashid knocked the man on the back of the head, knocking him unconscious. I picked up his sword and finished the job.

I revealed a bag of coins. “I’ll share what I stole, since he’s dead now.”

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This was written for the March 26 Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge, take charge. This prompt wasn’t hard for me to come up with¬†an idea for, but boy was it hard to come up with something that would fit in the word count! Hope you’ve enjoyed the flash.

Also – stay tuned to the Carrot Ranch on Tuesdays. You may be (pleasantly, I hope) surprised by what’s coming up this next Tuesday.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The Roofing Rabbit

close up of rabbit on field

Velour wiped her brow and sat back, hammer in paw. The roof of the cabin had been difficult so far, as they only had honey locust thorns as nails and bark for shingles.

“How goes it?” Velour’s mate, Timber, asked. His ears drooped from exhaustion, as he’d built the catted chimney.

She smiled. “We’ll have this finished by winter.” She pointed to a clay bottle sitting on a stump. “Take a break and have some ginger beer.”

“Only if you come down from the roof and drink with me.”

Velour clambered down, and the pioneer rabbits rested a minute.

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This was written for the March 19th Carrot Ranch prompt,¬†Rabbit on the Roof. My mom just started reading¬†Redwall again, and I couldn’t think of anything that didn’t involve anthropomorphic rabbits. These pioneer rabbits are building a cabin much like the one recently built on one of my favorite YouTube channels, Townsends.

Nevermore

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Suddenly there came a tapping at my chamber door. I shivered, knowing it’s Lenore knocking in the hall, wanting inside my door. She’s come in form of raven and ghost before, but her footsteps patting are heavy, plodding on the hallway floor.

Dare I open it? No – I can hear her moaning, pleading for entry, but as I sit profusely sweating, I fear the integrity of my door.

Now her arms are heavily banging, splint’ring down my chamber door. “BRAINS!” she cries, consumption eating at her zombie form. I scream, but no use waiting – she’s in, and I’m nevermore.

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The prompt for the March 12th Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge was¬†tapping, and like a good, “well-read*” American, I instantly thought of Poe’s “The Raven”.

*I’m really not well-read, not at all well-read considering that I’m trying to be a writer, so this is in quotes because I’m being sarcastic.

Sharecroppers

sugarcane

The amount of sugar I got was pitiful. “What’s this shit?” I asked the sharecropper who rented my land.

He looked to his feet, embarrassed. “Didn’t rain much, so nothin’ grew. This all we got to give ‘less we starve.”

“Then why aren’t you starving?” I ripped the sales report from his hands. “What did you do with this money you got?”

“Spent it on food for the winter.”

I shook the report at him. “That was my money. You’ll give double the percentage next year.”

“Ain’t gonna be no next year. We’re moving west, and you’ll get nothin’.”

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This was written for the February 13th Flash Fiction Challenge at the Carrot Ranch:¬†sugar report. While the definition of sugar report is something entirely different from what I wrote about, I’ve been thinking about this story for a while this month.

February is Black History Month, and sharecropping is a part of black history that’s often been glanced over. Sharecropping is where tenants pay rent to work the land, wherein payment is usually in the form of a portion of the crops. Landlords (usually the people who used to own the plantations) would be harsh in their demands, and sharecroppers would often be trapped since they had to work harder to pay their rent. It doesn’t sound like slavery really ended after the Civil War, does it?

But we also forget that America’s history is shaped by the frontier (aaaand different atrocities associated with that, but that’s for another day). African American settlers helped define the west as part of a way to find new adventures and burst out of the sharecropping/oppression/abuse cycle. That’s why I chose to give that glimmer of hope at the end of the story: the west, the frontier, the ever-shifting upward momentum was a chance many grasped at. Black settlers are getting a well-deserved historical re-examination nowadays, and I’m excited to see what things historians find next.

Sharecropping was also a thing poor whites participated in; I had a white middle-school teacher who grew up as a sharecropper in Georgia, and man did she have it rough as a kid. When I think about her, about the continued wage-slavery imparted by sharecropping and other worker-abusive practices, I think about how people of all races and colors can be helped by the same policies, laws, regulations, and, most of all,

Kindness. 

Image by JamesDeMers from Pixabay