The Crotchety Old Man

Mar 30, 2015
By Michael Rupured

A Dream Vacation

Travel holds little appeal for me these days. Flying is unpleasant. I’m too damn big (6’2″ and 200 pounds), and over the last ten years or so, have become increasingly claustrophobic. Were teleporting an option, I’d be more interested in visiting far away places. Until then, unless driving is possible, I don’t go. The publisher I’ve been with since August, 2012 (Dreamspinner Press) holds a conference every year for authors. I joined the gang too late to attend  in 2012. Attending in 2013 or 2014 required flying or more driving than I cared to do. When they announced the 2015 conference would be in Orlando, I jumped at the change to go. I confess, the big draw was the opportunity to connect with …

Mar 23, 2015
By Michael Rupured

Birthday Presents

For my 57th birthday earlier this month, I gave myself a new car and a trip to Orlando. The new car was somewhat of a requirement. The PT Cruiser I bought in 2005 had enough miles on it to make me nervous about driving to Florida. I’ve known for months what kind of car I wanted to get. My PT Cruiser was the first convertible I’ve had the pleasure of owning. Driving with the top down is possible at least a few days every month here in Georgia. Wishing I’d bought another convertible seemed more likely than wishing I hadn’t. Refusing to pay more for a car than I paid for my first house ruled out a lot of options. A car is a means …

Mar 16, 2015
By Michael Rupured

About Whippersnapper

Figuring out who I am as a writer has been an ongoing process. Rather than selling out, trying to write a different kind of story has freed me from self-imposed constraints. The result is a story far more “me” than any of my previous novels have been. Opinions about which is the best story vary, but technically speaking, each of my novels has been better than the one before. Whippersnapper is the best yet, and more fun than a barrel of monkeys. If people enjoy the reading half as much as I’ve enjoyed the writing, I might just have a hit on my hands. As always, the story is told from multiple points of view. This time, all three characters …

Mar 09, 2015
By Michael Rupured

Finding Myself in My WIP

A bit of me goes into everything I write, sometimes on purpose, sometimes not. Reading my novels gives you some idea of who I am and how I see the world. Mental health professionals who read all three probably see enough to offer a diagnosis. Since penning my first novel, I’ve struggled to figure out who I am as a writer. For no good reason, I thought me the writer was somehow different from who I am as a person. Whippersnapper has shown me they are one and the same, and in the process, freed me from self-imposed constraints. It’s more “me” than any of my previous books have been. People say I’m funny. Telling humorous stories is a family tradition and as essential to who I am as big feet …

Mar 02, 2015
By Michael Rupured

The Evolution of a Writer

Some people know who they are from an early age. Not me. Despite my 57th birthday later this week, I’m still trying to figure it out. Announcing who I am or what I intend to do never sticks for long. More than half a century of wrong guesses and empty proclamations lead me to believe I’m not supposed to know. The problem isn’t a lack of self-knowledge so much as a constantly evolving self. Thanks to the twenty-twenty vision of hindsight, knowing who I was in the past is at least theoretically possible. Who I am right now, however — despite my advanced aged — is a moving target. The same is true for my identity as an author. Despite proclamations about who I am as a writer, the truth is, …

Feb 23, 2015
By Michael Rupured

Selling Out?

Should authors write for the market? Is catering to what readers want selling out, or a smart business decision? Opposing camps are more deeply entrenched than Republicans and Democrats. The conflict stems largely (but not entirely) from differences in opinion about whether writing is a business or a craft. Initially, I sided with the craft faction. I’m an artist, dammit! Never mind what is or isn’t popular — I’ll write what I want to write and let the chips fall where they will. Writing historical gay fiction floats my boat. My writing demon is appeased, and showing how life has changed over time for the GLBT community taps into the educator in me. Lack of interest in this type of story, however, starves my inner attention whore. If …

Feb 16, 2015
By Michael Rupured

An Historical Disappointment

Based on absolutely nothing, I expected each of my novels to sell at least a few more copies than the one before. That hasn’t been the case. Despite my disappointment at the time about the lack of digits on my first royalty checks, Until Thanksgiving has done well — much better than After Christmas Eve and Happy Independence Day, combined. Money isn’t the issue. My bills get paid whether my books sell or not. I’m not asking for sympathy or trying to lay a guilt trip on anyone who hasn’t bought my books. The focus of this post is the impact of my unrealistic expectations on my ability to write and, to some extent, my ignorance about the industry. If you ask me, …

Feb 09, 2015
By Michael Rupured

A Man and His Hat

Growing up, I rarely wore a hat. Covering my head messed my hair up too much. If it got really cold, I’d break down and put on a sock hat or pull up the hood on my sweatshirt. You do what you gotta do. Until he got older, my father never wore a hat either. In sub-zero weather, he’d don a tan, fleece-lined aviator hat — the kind with ear flaps, which he never, ever pulled down. Otherwise, aside from the fire helmet or visored uniform cap he wore on the job, his head stayed uncovered. Comes a time when every man needs a good hat. Dad’s codger hat (his term) was a Greek fisherman’s cap made of wool — black, I believe, though it …

Feb 02, 2015
By Michael Rupured

Pantsing Magic

Plotters plan out everything about a story ahead of time. Pantsers make up the story as they go along. My writing process has been different for each of my novels, but I fall squarely on the pantsing side of the continuum. I drift toward plotting now and then, but no matter how hard I try, my books never turn out as planned. I shouldn’t be surprised. Something always knocks my plans for the future off course. Shit happens. Unexpected opportunities arise. Nothing in my life has ever turned out the way I thought it would. Why should my novels be any different? Writing my first novel was like driving for the first time with no idea where I was going. Operating the vehicle was a challenge. …

Jan 26, 2015
By Michael Rupured

Best Pants of All Time

Next to Philip Potter — the man at the center of the holiday series — Harold Clarkson is the character from my novels readers comment on the most. Harold plays a supporting role in After Christmas Eve and Happy Independence Day. His fans are especially impressed with his fashion sensibility. Because of Harold, readers often ask where I learned so much about hair, makeup, and clothing styles. Like every gay man of a certain age from the south, female relatives taught me everything I know. My mother and her sisters had strong opinions about how “well-bred” individuals should and shouldn’t look, and no compunction about voicing them. Until I was old enough to buy my own clothes, Mom was responsible for my wardrobe, often in a coordinated …

Jan 19, 2015
By Michael Rupured

Pet Writing Peeves: Extra Verbs

The monthly “Pet Writing Peeves” I’d hoped to post all year ended last June. I ran out of things to bitch about. Who knew? I’d welcome guest posts on the topic. Previous posts in the category have largely revolved around things other writers do that annoy me. My goal was to share things nobody told  me (or more likely, I just missed along the way). I’m grateful to the writers who comprise the Athens Writers Workshop for finally telling (or reminding) me. I will always <3 them. The focus of this post changed half a dozen times. The connection between several similar issues wasn’t immediately apparent to me (#SlowLearner). I’m not sure my command of grammar is sufficient to explain the what …

Jan 12, 2015
By Michael Rupured

My New Steam Mop

Buying gifts for me is a challenge. I don’t want much, and am perhaps a teeny bit hard to please. When I do want something, I tend to just buy it myself. If I’m not happy, it’s nobody’s fault but mine. Devoted readers of this blog may recall I get off on clean floors. My vacuum cleaners — an upright for carpets and a canister for everything else — do a great job. The performance of my vintage string mop, however, has been disappointing. When my sister asked what I’d like for Christmas this year, I said one of those steam mop thingies. A lack of clarity might explain why I’m so hard to please. Knowing me as she does, my sister followed …

Jan 05, 2015
By Michael Rupured

Revisions: Now or Later?

Approaches to penning a novel fall somewhere along a continuum. Writers on one end — plotters — think through every detail ahead of time. Those on the other end — pantsers — make stuff up as they go along. Either approach can result in a high quality novel. I bounce back and forth as the mood strikes. The right side of my brain is a plotter. The left side sabotages any attempts to plan things out. Keeping both sides happy is a struggle. Writing a good story is about getting to know the characters. Early in the process — whether pantsing or plotting — I don’t know them very well. By “the end,” we’ve become old friends. I still might not know everything about them, …

Dec 29, 2014
By Michael Rupured

Swap Resolutions for Priorities

For most of my career, instead of days off for “lesser” federal holidays, my employer has given us the week off between Christmas and New Year’s Day. Depending on when the holidays fall, I usually add days of vacation time to either end — both if possible. Most years, the holiday vacation is my longest break from the day job. Being off for more than a day or two gives me a chance to catch up. In the early years, an overly ambitious to-do list for my holiday vacation meant ending the year feeling more defeated than renewed. Eventually, I figured out what I was doing to myself and scaled back my plans and expectations for the long holiday break. The journaling I’ve done since 1979 …

Dec 23, 2014
By Chris T. Kat

Chris T. Kat

Chris T. Kat lives in the middle of Europe, where she shares a house with her husband of many years and their two children. She stumbled upon the M/M genre by luck and was swiftly drawn into it. She divides her time between work, her family—which includes chasing after escaping horses and lugging around huge instruments such as a harp—and writing. She enjoys a variety of genres, such as mystery/suspense, paranormal, and romance. If there’s any spare time, she happily reads for hours, listens to audiobooks or does cross stitch.

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