The Crotchety Old Man

Aug 13, 2018
By Michael Rupured

Dinner Time

After the ex and I split up, we still got together for dinner at least three or four nights a week — almost every night the last two years of his life. He did nearly all the cooking. His menu selections weren’t always the healthiest and he had a (delightful) bad habit of baking sweets after dinner, but I never complained. Beggars can’t be choosers. He enjoyed cooking (usually), put a lot of effort into it, and took pride in every dish. I cooked occasionally, but we both preferred his cooking over mine. You would too. In the early weeks of fending for myself, I relied heavily on familiar fast and easy options. Then I tried a lot of frozen, ready-made …

Aug 06, 2018
By Michael Rupured

Novel Experience

Lots of people tell me they hope to write a book. Many say they’ve written the first few chapters — often for several stories. Starting a book is easy. Finishing is the hard part. Writing a novel is a HUGE challenge — especially the first time around. Getting to “the end” takes hours and hours of work over many weeks, months, or even years. Whether the finished product gets published or not, devoting that much time to something is a sure way to get better at it. Going through the publication process is also a learning experience. Three different editors go over every story with a fine-toothed comb. I always learn from their comments, questions, and suggestions. Reviews are helpful …

Jul 30, 2018
By Michael Rupured

Shorter Summers

Students in one Georgia county returned to school this past Friday. The last day of class for them was June 25th. Hope they enjoyed their summer — all five weeks of it. Why bother starting on a Friday? Returning to school on a Monday or Tuesday makes for too long of a first week back. Wednesday I can understand, or even Thursday. Maybe I’m missing something, but starting on Friday is crazy. Like them or not, the research on summer breaks is clear. The longer the break, the more kids forget. Summer learning loss negatively impacts success in school, college, and life — especially for students from low-income households. Shorter breaks are the obvious solution. Smarter summers are another option. Keeping …

Jul 23, 2018
By Michael Rupured

My Next Project

A lot of thought goes into selecting my next project. Writing a novel is a HUGE commitment. Unless I’m head over heels in love with the idea, I’ll never make it to “the end” of the story. No amount of love can save a flawed idea. I’ve wasted hours and hours trying. All I got in return was heartbreak and a folder of abandoned manuscripts. Each abandoned manuscript suffers from the same problem: A tragic lack of understanding about the role of the main character. I’ve written extensively about figuring this out in previous posts, so I’ll spare you the details here.The point is, I finally got it. #SlowLearner Portions of The Case of the Missing Drag Queen were salvaged from …

Jul 16, 2018
By Michael Rupured

Reviews: Case of the Missing Drag Queen

Several reviews have come out in the weeks since DSP Publications released The Case of the Missing Drag Queen. Some authors ignore reviews of their stories or only read the good ones. Not me. I read all I can find. A number of web sites provide reviews for gay fiction. Romance is often the focus — some will only review romances — but a few review any genre with gay main characters. Here is a sampling of “official” reviews for The Case of the Missing Drag Queen. Rainbow Book Reviews: I enjoyed the novel for its “nostalgic” sense of what the world was like before laptops, cell phones, and the internet. But I digress – aside from the accurate setting, this mystery …

Jul 09, 2018
By Michael Rupured

My Staycation

Today I return to work after my longest vacation in more than a decade. Usually, I use a day or two of vacation time around weekends and holidays to keep my work from piling up overmuch while I’m away. This year, that just wasn’t possible. For sixteen glorious days, I didn’t think about work. I did check email and  voicemail occasionally, but received very few messages. The weeks around Independence Day are a good time to take off because things slow to a crawl. What did I do? Exercised. I worked out at my new gym almost every day. The 24/7 access makes a difference. The one time I did run, I was able to workout first — the tendinitis …

Jul 02, 2018
By Michael Rupured

RuPaul’s Drag Race: Season 10

I love drag shows almost as much as I love Broadway musicals. Except for the number of cocktails involved, they’re not that different. Costumed performers dance, sing (or lip-sync), and otherwise entertain a live audience. From the first season, RuPaul’s Drag Race has been must-see TV for me. Like live drag shows, it’s cheesy, a little raunchy, and often hilarious. Some seasons have been better than others. Season 10 is the best yet. Experience helps. The challenges gets better with each season. Thanks to the success of the show, production values have steadily improved too. But what makes the show, of course, is the cast. Keeping up with who’s who in and out of drag the first few episodes is …

Jun 25, 2018
By Michael Rupured

My Three Gym Memberships

I belong to three gyms. I joined the first in 2011 because membership was cheaper than paying by the class for Zumba. Aside from all the beef on display, the weight room didn’t interest me. I opted for a pricey membership that included regular sessions with a personal trainer. The guy who worked with me for the next eighteen months was smart, very kind, and always extremely professional. His encouragement and support kept me coming back. Didn’t hurt that he was super hot. Outside of grueling sessions with him, my workouts have never been particularly strenuous. Better too little than to overdo it and hurt myself. The main goal has been at least thirty minutes of strength training two or three …

Jun 18, 2018
By Michael Rupured
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Release Day Eve

Shortly after midnight, DSP Publications will release The Case of the Missing Drag Queen. Readers who preordered the e-book will wake up tomorrow to find a copy in his or her inbox. Paperbacks should reach readers in the next week or two. As release day nears, I’m like a child awaiting Christmas. Imagining happy endings goes with being an author. Will my fifth novel be the one? Experience has tempered my expectations. Oprah isn’t going to mention The Case of the Missing Drag Queen. Nor will NPR’s Terry Gross reach out for an interview. Andy Cohen won’t fall madly in love with me after reading my book either. That’s okay. Fame and fortune would mess with a strong desire to simplify …

Jun 11, 2018
By Michael Rupured
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Pile Shifting

Growing up, I’d come home from school sometimes to find my bed piled high with anything I owned that wasn’t where it was supposed to be. In addition to clutter, the massive mound included the contents of any drawers, closets, or shelves that didn’t measure up to Mom’s very high standards. The experience left a lasting impression. Before I could do anything else, I had to deal with the pile and pass inspection. Everything had to be neatly stored — a place for everything, and everything in its place. To get there, I sorted Mount Clutter into smaller and smaller piles until everything was put up or tossed out. Pile shifting remains my preferred way to deal with clutter. The …

Jun 04, 2018
By Michael Rupured
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My Little Garden

My garden is ready for a long, hot Georgia summer. A ton of rain helped. We’re six inches above normal for this time of year — most of that coming in May. Getting all the new arrivals into the ground early helped too. I’ve gardened for more than thirty years. Space constraints limited options with my first two, leading me to buy a house with a ginormous yard for #3. Over the next ten years, I accumulated more than 600 varieties of ornamental plants. Taking care of the sprawling landscape and spacious house by myself was too much, so in 2012 I downsized. The first year or two, I didn’t do much in the yard beyond mowing. Not having to …

May 28, 2018
By Michael Rupured
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Savoring Solitude

Ten weeks have passed since the unexpected death of my ex and best friend. Our seventeen-year relationship was complicated — especially the last few years. Adjusting to life without him is an ongoing process. How am I doing? Mom says I’m doing great. Arguing with her is pointless, but in this case, I’m inclined to agree with her assessment. Life goes on. Commitments must be honored and stuff that comes up at home and at work has to be dealt with. Letting things pile up just makes for a bigger mess. After wrapping up several projects last week, I’m caught up at the day job for the first time this year. I’m still crazy busy, but the pressure is off — …

May 14, 2018
By Michael Rupured

The Friends Behind my Blog Tour

The midpoint of my 14-week promotional campaign for The Case of the Missing Drag Queen just passed. So far, so good. It’s #8 on DSP Publications best sellers list and has been as high as #6.. Setting up a blog tour is a lot of work. Since my first release, I’ve outsourced the job. Those campaigns revolved around daily posts on various sites over a short period of time. Though affordable and expedient, I suspect the tour services are more effective for authors of erotic m-m romance than for me. Some romance enthusiasts enjoy my novels, but purists (rightfully) do not. My stories are gay fiction–a nearly invisible sub-genre. I needed a campaign that reached gay-friendly readers who aren’t necessarily fans …

May 07, 2018
By Michael Rupured
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The Teacher in Me (Part 2)

The teaching I do through Cooperative Extension is not classroom teaching. Other than other extension educators, I tend to see my students only once. Over the past thirty years, I’ve presented personal finance information to the public and provided training to county-based Cooperative Extension educators, school teachers, and others to provide personal finance education to youth and adult audiences. This past spring semester marked my return to the classroom for the first time since graduate school thirty years ago. I taught Introduction to Family and Consumer Sciences — a one-credit course every student in the college must take to graduate. With guest lecturers for almost every session, I didn’t have teach so much as manage the class. Although I’ve done dozens …

Apr 30, 2018
By Michael Rupured
Comments Off on The Teacher in Me (Part 1)

The Teacher in Me (Part 1)

Education was one of many majors I tried on during my ten-year stint as an undergraduate. Thanks to a mountain of credit card and other debt, working full-time (and more) wasn’t optional. I had to change majors because practicums and student-teaching didn’t fit into my schedule. I compared the credits I’d earned to the requirements for every degree offered at the University of Kentucky in search of the shortest route to a degree. The result was to major in Family Studies in the College of Home Economics. My other option — English — seemed unlikely to improve my lot in life. After graduation, I left my middle-management position in the hospitality industry to work as a secretary in the Family …

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