I’m Published in Lethal Impact!

Some of you may have been alerted on Twitter that I got a second story accepted into an anthology released by Dragon Soul Press – and it’s here on Kindle and paperback preorder!

DragonSoulPress Square HRR Gorman

In this post-apocalyptic anthology, nothing matters except survival.
In a world full of humans pitted against each other, how can there be anyone left to trust?

This book contains 16 stories by different authors, of which yours truly is one, about post-apocalyptic struggle.

As more marketing shenanigans for this book starts happening, you’ll start seeing more from me!

Dark Divinations Party – Facebook, Saturday, May 23rd

You’re not going to miss this party – join in if you have the chance!

Come join Emz and the whole cast of authors at the Facebook Book Party! Readings, Games, Prizes, Fun, Trivia! This Saturday, May 23rd, 2020 starting with a WatchParty @ 1pm PDT and a Facebook Party @ 2pm PDT Dark Divinations Edited by Naching T. Kassa Authors: Stephanie Ellis, Michael Fassbender, Alan Fisher, H.R.R. Gorman, Ash […]

Dark Divinations Party – Facebook, Saturday, May 23rd

Dark Divinations – What’s in YOUR Future?

The time is nigh, my friends, to speak of horrors and things… unseen.

On May 1st, the anthology Dark Divinations goes live! And look at that cover – it’s pretty great, if you ask me.

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Here’s the teaser which can be found on the book’s webpage:

It’s the height of Queen Victoria’s rule. Fog swirls in the gas-lit streets, while in the parlor, hands are linked. Pale and expectant faces gaze upon a woman, her eyes closed and shoulders slumped. The medium speaks, her tone hollow and inhuman. The séance has begun.

Join us as we explore fourteen frightening tales of Victorian horror, each centered around a method of divination. Can the reading of tea leaves influence the future? Can dreams keep a soldier from death in the Crimea? Can a pocket watch foretell a deadly family curse? From entrail reading and fortune-telling machines to prophetic spiders and voodoo spells, sometimes the future is better left unknown.

There’s tons of goodies for people who pre-order! Horror Addicts is giving away free tarot-inspired cards for those who take the dive and search for their Dark Divination, and you can get a sneak peak on this YouTube teaser:

And, won’t you look at that – one of the authors featured in the anthology is little ol’ H.R.R. Gorman. I wrote a short called Miss Mae’s Prayers, of which I will be releasing a snippit later… mwahaha!

You can pre-order this anthology of Victorian horror here, and you can find the Horror Addicts Patreon here. A Kindle or Amazon link will be on a later post, since those don’t come with pre-order goodies.

Embrace Engineering

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“Then using the continuity equation, we…”

The ceiling closed in to a circular point around the visitor’s mysterious symbols. We did not understand but jotted them in notebooks and promised to use them on pipes…

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This Lovecraftian flash was inspired by Sammi Cox’s Weekend Writing Prompt #150, continuity. The continuity equation is used in fluid dynamics to describe continuous flow and conserve mass/energy. Since Lovecraft was traumatized with geometry, I thought I’d use that equation to cause even MORE trauma.

Roulette

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The croupier dropped the ivory ball and spun the wheel.  “12,” he announced.  The croupier organized the winnings and handed out the chips.

Sally placed her bet off the grid. “Spin me a wild ride, croupier.”

The croupier gave her a strange look, then dropped the ball and spun the wheel.

It kept spinning.  And spinning.

The casino fell silent as Sally took the croupier’s hand. “Looks like I won,” she whispered as she grabbed him by the wrist.  She licked his neck and nibbled on his ear. “Now give me my prize.”

***

This was written for Sammi Cox’s Weekend Writing Prompt #107spin. Believe it or not, I had to do research to find out how roulette worked for this story, further showing how sheltered I’ve been in my life.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The Bone Forge

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Hot.  Flames singed at his flesh.

Pain. His arm ached when he tried to cover his eyes, and his side throbbed with constant, stinging pain.

Alfred whimpered and remained lying down.  “Oh God,” he asked, “My God, why did you forget me?”

“Forget who?” asked a voice.

The light in the room changed as an old woman with wild, grey curls sticking from her messy bun pulled a curtain open.  She placed a hand on Alfred’s head, taking the chance to examine him.  She grabbed a pen light and tested his pupils’ dilation.  “Hmph.  That bootup was supposed to be a test.”

Alfred’s rapid heartbeat and breathing slowed.  “Where am I?” he asked.  “I take it I’m not in Hell?”

“Depends on how much and what kind of Hell you believe in.”  She flipped a switch, and the gears behind Alfred slowed.  The hot fire dimmed.  “This is The Bone Forge.”

Alfred swallowed.  “No.”  He lifted his painful arm, mechanical gears whirring.  His right side, down to the lung and diaphragm, had been replaced with computerized versions.  His body stung where his nerves and blood intersected with the machine’s circuitry and pipes.  “This can’t be happening – I said no resuscitation, no experiments!”

“Oh, get over that.  I haven’t paid attention to paperwork in months.” The old lady tsked, then unhooked a few electrical cords from Alfred’s body.

“I fought for our freedom,” Alfred said.  “I was supposed to die for it, too, not become a… a mechanical zombie!”

She kicked the brakes on the gurney and moved the IV bag such that it hung at his head.  “I can still cut the power to your brain, if you want.  You’re not able to survive on your own, not for long.”

“Will they let you do it?”

“‘They’ don’t have any say in it.”  She pushed the gurney through a door into a cool, dark hallway.  Some of the lights flickered, some remained dark.  “General Applequist surrendered his army three days ago, and our glorious Revolution’s about to be downgraded to just another civil war.  The only people who would care if I pull the plug on you are our enemies, and them only because they’re jealous of my tech.”  She shrugged.  “I don’t care.  I expect they’ll find me guilty of war crimes at my trial, and I’ll let them take my life.  Better than them taking my secrets.”

Alfred winced as she pushed his gurney over a threshhold.  The room he entered had barred windows, and the morning light shined through a light dust that swirled in the room.  He could still smell the smoke from the bombings, from when the front had raged just at the edge of Diamond City.

His lip quivered.  Pain echoed through his cheek, so he lifted his left hand – still human, not machine – and felt the smooth mechanics.  “Can I look at my face?”

The old woman sighed, but she turned the gurney to face the cracked mirror on the wall.

Alfred turned his head away from the mirror.  “God didn’t forget me.  He purposefully turned away.”

“Believe about God what you want, but don’t forget this.”  The old lady put a hand to the bed, just next to Alfred’s mechanical arm.  “Your country never gave up on you.  Not when you were a fresh recruit, not when you fired your gun, not when half your body’d been blown apart on the field, and certainly not now.  Now, do you want this new life your blessed, dying country gave you, or should I leave you on the gurney’s battery power for a few hours and let you make your final prayers?”

He swallowed some saliva.  “Plug me in.  I… I want my mom.”

She grabbed the man’s cords and transferred the power to the wall outlet.  “We’ll try to reach her, sweetie.  Let me get you a book to read in the meantime.”

***

This was written for D. Wallace Peach’s monthly Speculative Fiction Prompt.  It’s looking to be a *hot* prompt, so join in before the deadline!

If you enjoyed my sci-fi tale of cyborgism, consider reading my novella, If I Only Had No Heart.  It’s a horror tale about a robot cult that encourages cyborgism, and it has a lot of feelings and themes in common with this flash fiction.

Pixabay image by Brigitte Werner

Did I Commit and Submit a Short Story?

Last month, I repeatedly talked about how I wanted to submit a short story to a journal or anthology.  Well, I dragged my feet about it, but I submitted on April 30th, not too many hours before the deadline for my goal.

Jingle Bells

I ended up submitting my short story, Watching You, to The Dark magazine of horror and dark fantasy.  I read a few of their stories, and I thought mine was appropriate for the magazine.  That being said, a lot (but not all!) of their recent stuff had a Hispanic flavor, but I thought I had a chance.  The Dark was a higher level journal than the one I had originally identified for the story to go to, and I thought perhaps I should aim high then try somewhere else later if it failed.

What was more?

It has a reply time of a single day.  That would give me enough time to look the story over again and submit it to the anthology I had first identified without breaking simultaneous submission rules.

So I have my first rejection letter!  And I only seriously wanted to die for like 6 hours after I got it!  I’m not feeling very good right now, and I’m not sure if I even want to make the goal to submit another short story this month.

I’m seriously wondering if I’m cut out for this.  I know it’s just one rejection, and people are going to tell me things like “Oh, you have to do this if you want to be a writer,” but… well, that stuff makes me wonder if I want to be a writer.  Get used to wanting to die?  Get used to feeling like a worthless sack of poop that isn’t good at their passion?  I don’t like that!  It can’t be about that!

I don’t talk about it much on the blog because I don’t think people want to hear me whine about how I’m a f*cking lunatic, but I do have pretty crippling mental issues.  If you’ve ever wondered why I’m such a butthole on Twitter, it’s because I’m usually depressed, and not just a little depressed.  I am seeing professional help, but it’s a really rough time to live in my head.  That submission and rejection didn’t help.  I might actually be too depressed to handle this.

Right now, my goals are to not quit, to eventually eat again (self-punishment garbage that I know from an intellectual standpoint is stupid, but from an emotional standpoint I can’t get over), and to do some reading.  Maybe soon I’ll be able to submit something new (or even submit the same story to a different journal), but right now I’ve got to repair the ol’ cylinders.

A Carpenter in the Woods

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A twinkle caught the little girl’s eye. She followed the glowing spirit, then chased another once the first burned away. The trail of spirits brought her to a tree that glowed with the same spectral energy.

Feeling suddenly compelled, she sat by the tree, unable to tear her gaze from it.

The tree whispered, “Are you the woodsman’s daughter?”

She nodded.

“Your father built a special house using my child’s body as material.” The bright knot glared more intensely. “Did you know I’m equally skilled at construction?”

She shook her head no.

“Then watch the bright light… good girl…”

***

This is a very different kind of prompt entry.  The Aethereal Engineer prompts are submitted through a comment and, since the site-runner chooses one story to professionally put onto the picture, I thought it perhaps unfair to make my own post first.   The above was my entry to the contest – and what a contest!  Everyone, the Aethereal Engineer prompts have a REAL prize!  Everyone should give this an attempt at least once!

The winner of the picture above was not me (I didn’t even come in second place, haha!), so you can go here to enjoy the winning story and click on some links to find the prompt!

Drown the Sins Away

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They went down to the river, their bodies draped in white.  Their voices sang so sweetly I nearly forgot I was a creature of darkest night.

My vessel in his robes walked down the curling path.  The preacher woman held up her old hand and drew my vessel near.  “Come here to me, my sweet child, your time is finally here.”

I clenched tight inside this submerged tomb, water holding me down.  When the preacher lifted him I remained behind, a demon that had been drowned.

***

This was written for the Sammi Cox weekend writing prompt #75, submerge.  As a good Baptist (who is leaving for church in about 20 minutes), I immediately thought about baptism when I saw the word.  I put a little Halloween twist on it – hope you enjoy!

Psychic Scream

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It came upon a clear 3 am,
Waking all who soundly slept.
The noise rattled within our heads,
Our weeping the only memory kept.

I knew the pain of my neighbor
Whose child had died of leukemia.
She knew the pettiness of my childhood
And why I hated movies in sepia.

The screams of refugees
Echoed through neural hallways
And squealed for attention
From people whose lives were ablaze

The psychic scream shared our minds.
Fear shook us from skin to core,
And sadness stripped happiness.
Who was who anymore?

Fear of disease,
Fear of pain,
Fear of mistakes,
Fear of rain.

Fear of the future,
Fear of the past,
Fear of spiders,
Fear of bones in casts.

Fear of bombs,
Fear of man,
Fear of rejection,
Fear of quicksand.

Was it I who cried
When my father died,
Or was it someone else’s fear with which
This trip had made me collide?

The mushroom cloud of all fears,
Of death that waits oh so patient,
Lingered on the thoughts of every
Person young or ancient.

Not a sound of hope squished out
From all the minds together pounding,
But good things died beneath the weight
Of the baleful cries resounding.

As quick as the blessing came it went,
And in our own minds we were left.
The world fell quiet, all alone,
And somehow we felt bereft.

I sat and thought how I was pathetic,
How my petty fears and worries
Are nothing in the face of the dreams
And the stark reality of others’ miseries.

Now I think about a different fear.
I’m trapped in this helpless carcass
And can’t do anything but consider
Of how I am so small and pointless.

***

Wow, that reads like a bucket of teenage angst.  I’m almost proud of that fact.  I didn’t know I could tap into something like that anymore.

Either way, this was written for Raynobradbury’s Psychic Hearing challenge.