The Crotchety Old Man

Sep 01, 2014
By Michael

Fabulous Five Blog Hop

My dear friend Charlie Cochet invited me to take part in the Fabulous Five Blog Hop. No big deal. Answer five questions on my blog and I’m done. One of these days, I’ll learn that nothing is ever as easy as I think it will be. After much pondering, knuckle-gnawing, and hair-pulling — a high cost activity at this stage of my life — I finally came up with my answers. Enjoy. What am I working on? At the moment, nothing. I’ve been too busy preparing for last month’s release of Happy Independence Day and A Taste of Honey to write much more than my weekly blog posts. My fourth novel will probably be a departure from the holiday tales, but I …

Aug 28, 2014
By Andrea Speed

Andrea Speed

Andrea wonders if anyone bothers to read these. She’s not sure she does. But if you are, thank you. She’s sorry she’s not more interesting. She continues to await alien abduction, but so far it just ain’t happening.

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Aug 25, 2014
By Michael

Dancing My Ass Off

Best I can remember, weight was never an issue for me growing up. Mom served nutritionally balanced meals and didn’t keep much junk food around. I was active, too. After school, on weekends and during summer breaks, the kids in our neighborhood spent every waking moment outside climbing trees, riding bikes, and playing pickup games of various team sports. Getting a job when I was fourteen changed everything. With my own money and no financial responsibilities, junk food consumed the lion’s share of my meager income. My caloric intake shot through the roof, my activity level plummeted, and I got fat and sassy. Okay. Maybe I’ve always been sassy. <shrugs> The first time I lost a ton of weight was my senior year in high …

Aug 21, 2014
By Charlie Cochrane

Interview with an Ex

One of the key plot points in Second Helpings is the ability (or inability) of Stuart and Paul to move on from their exes. Although in Paul’s case he isn’t even sure if his ex is ex. For Stuart, it’s about finding a second chance after the death of his much loved partner Mark. In the story, we hear a lot about Stuart’s viewpoint on Mark, but what about vice versa? So here’s a posthumously posted ‘interview’ with Mark about the man himself. How did you meet? It was a blind date, although neither of us knew that at the time. Stuart thought he was meeting up with Guy, one of his work colleagues. I think he’d secretly fancied Guy …
Aug 20, 2014
By Michael

Happy Independence Day Release Party & Blog Tour

Dreamspinner Press has officially released my third novel, Happy Independence Day. The story features the relationship between Terrence Bottom and Cameron McKenzie and is set in June 1969, a few years later than the prequel, After Christmas Eve, and about 225 miles farther north. Much of the action occurs in and around the infamous Stonewall Inn on New York City’s Christopher Street. The riots play a big role in the story. Contrary to legend, the Stonewall Uprising wasn’t the first volley in the battle for homosexual rights in the United States or even the first riot involving homosexuals. In August 1966, transgender people rioted at the Compton Cafeteria in the Tenderloin district of San Francisco. Homophile organizations such as Chicago’s …

Aug 18, 2014
By Michael

A Beary Good Read

Does a wild bear shift in the woods? To find out, read my first short story, The Bear King of Snowbird Mountain in A Taste of Honey, an anthology now available from Dreamspinner Press. All the stories revolve around bears — the gay subculture rather than the omnivorous, furry, clawed variety that hibernate over the winter. BONUS: The anthology is a great chance to sample works from a group of very talented authors. Lots of writers keep folders full of short stories they’ve written. Getting one published in a magazine or anthology can be the first step toward publishing a novel for a new writer. For established authors, short stories are an opportunity to find new readers. I’m tickled pink to appear on the same table of contents …

Aug 15, 2014
By Michael

The Nature of Change

I’ve kept a personal journal since 1979. Writing in my journal is a hobby of sorts — a place to express myself without worrying my words will offend or hurt someone else. Believe it or not, the entries — while documenting my particular style of crazy – are repetitious, pedestrian, and boring. Writing stuff down helps me figure out what I really think. Talking shit is easy. The uttered word vanishes from view as I move onto the next thing. But opinions, desires, dreams, and ideas expressed on paper are different. The words linger, forcing me to take a closer look — especially when something doesn’t quite ring true. Last weekend I came down with a bug that knocked me for a loop. I don’t get …

Aug 14, 2014
By Lloyd A. Meeker

Lloyd Meeker – The Companion, and Some Unsolicited Opinions

Thank you, Michael, for hosting me on your blog today! It’s been a wild three weeks since my new novel The Companion was released, and this is my last scheduled blog stop before I draw breath. On one of my earlier blog posts I said something to the effect that what counts in a person’s life is not what happens to them but how they handle what happens to them. In the context of that post I was talking about life in general, in a fairly philosophical mood. But today I want to examine that concept in a more disciplined way, as it relates to how the protagonist of a story reveals his character. Conventional wisdom (I’ve lost count of …
Aug 11, 2014
By Michael

My New Brand

A couple of years ago, I naively believed an author’s only job was to write stories. The lucky few who hit the big time could add interviews and appearances to the job description. Turns out, I was wrong. <gasp> There’s more — a lot more. Promotion is a labor-intensive, time-consuming, and expensive part of the job I’ve frankly neglected. The bang for the promotional buck is directly related to the number of books I have on the market. When Until Thanksgiving came out, the payoff for any promo was one book per reader. With each release, new readers have more books to buy. For the upcoming release of my third novel, I wanted to step up my game. It’s not about the money. My …

Aug 07, 2014
By Brynn Stein
Comments Off

Living Again

 Hi all, I’m enjoying my blog tour so far, and have gotten a fair number of responses for my give away. If you haven’t seen any of my other stops on this tour, here’s how the giveaway will work. Comment below, and go to as many sites listed in the blog schedule listed here and comment there as well. Each blog you comment on will earn you one entry for my giveaway. Three prizes will be given. One signed paperback copy, and two electronic copies of Living Again. Now to talk about other things. How do you combat procrastination? I’m working on another story that I hope to submit to Dreamspinner, and I’m almost finished. That seems to be when …
Aug 04, 2014
By Michael

He’s Back…

Six years ago — for no good reason – I started blogging as the Crotchety Old Man. My musings revolved around things that pissed me off, like pet owners leaving dog poop on my lawn, bad drivers, and poor service. Writing to entertain was a lot of fun and a nice change from the kind of writing I did for myself or on the day job. Back then, I’d spend an hour or two cranking out new posts a few times a week. Instead of a regular schedule, I hit “publish” the second I finished, no matter the hour or day. When coming up with ideas for something to write about became difficult, I turned to my past for inspiration. After a series about my wild-assed youth, friends encouraged me to …

Jul 31, 2014
By Lane Hayes

Better Than Friends

Thank you very much for having me here today, Michael! This is my third visit to your site coinciding with yes… my third release in the Better Than Stories, Better Than Friends. I love stories about opposite attraction. They are inexplicably compelling to me as a reader. Case in point…in Better Than Friends, a Harley riding, a hot hunky older man with tats and an awesome sense of humor meets an overworked lawyer with a penchant for timeliness. If two people have nothing in common, what is the glue that makes their love story possible? Could it simply be friendship? For Curt and Jack, it all begins at a wedding. As these things sometimes do. Inhibitions are low and sometimes …
Jul 28, 2014
By Michael

The “I’m Not Gay” Homosexual

“I’m not gay” homosexuals turn up in my stories from time to time. Readers — especially women (do straight men read my books?) — question how he can be in denial about being gay when he’s having sex with men. Openly gay men know exactly who I’m talking about because these guys hit on us all the time. The “I’m not gay” homosexual doesn’t deny enjoying sex with men. Misperceptions about “the gay lifestyle” and what it means to be gay blind him to the truth. That he might be gay is just too horrifying to even consider. What would his family say? Growing up, that I might be gay never occurred to me. Don’t laugh, it’s true. Everyone else knew, …

Jul 24, 2014
By Michael

Happy Independence Day Cover Reveal

Getting a novel published is a roller coaster ride. Transforming a finished manuscript into a book people can read is a six-month journey filled with highs and lows. Difficult edits and short deadlines are lows. The high — at least for me — is my first glimpse of the cover. To celebrate the beautiful cover Christy Caughie designed for Happy Independence Day, my third novel, I’m conducting a big giveaway. See below for details. Some authors know exactly what they want on a cover. Not me. I never have a clue. Filling out the form for the artist about the characters, setting, and other aspects of the story is downright painful. My brain lacks the appropriate pathways to answer probably a third of the …

Jul 21, 2014
By Michael

Toodles Gets a Bath

WARNING: This post contains GRAPHIC images of a playful bitch* enjoying her bath. If that kind of thing floats your boat, please, get help. My six-pound chihuahua sleeps with me and is the best cuddle buddy I’ve ever had. I sleep on my side, and Toodles sleeps under my chin all snuggled into my armpit. When I turn over, she climbs up on the pillow and goes around my head to assume her rightful place on the other side. Given the intimacy of our relationship, she gets a lot of baths. Step One is to gather the materials: shampoo, towel, blow dryer, and brush. I’m not picky about the shampoo — as long as it smells good. Toodles doesn’t seem …

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