The Crotchety Old Man

Aug 31, 2015
By Michael Rupured

Genre-Fication

When I get an idea for a story, genre never enters my thought process. Opinions vary as to whether or not it should. As un realiste, I recognize the value of genres, but as un artiste, I resent the limitations. Conforming to genre conventions is so… conformiste. Initially, I was on a crusade to change the m-m genre. Lots of gay male authors go through this phase. Finding out the genre is dominated by straight female writers and readers is a WTF? moment. Battles about whether this is a good/bad/right/wrong have raged on Facebook, Twitter, and via countless blog posts. <SHRUGS> It is what it is. I’ve moved on. Genre matters because readers want some idea of what kind of story to expect. Whether m-m …

Aug 24, 2015
By Michael Rupured

Dad’s Garden

I’m pretty sure gardening is genetic. Whether a recessive gene or one of those that lie dormant until needed, I don’t know and couldn’t say. But I know beyond a doubt that my love for gardening was passed down to me from my father’s side of the family. Dad’s mother kept a vegetable garden in the backyard of her little house on Park Avenue in downtown Lexington. She may have grown a few zinnias for cutting and maintained a beautiful collection of African Violets in her dining room. But Granny was first and foremost a vegetable gardener. Space was too precious in her little garden to waste on pretty things. Granny planted new crops in late winter, early summer, and late …

Aug 19, 2015
By Michael Rupured

Trumping the Presidency

If you’re breathing and have seen or heard even a few minutes of national news, you know Donald Trump is running for President of the United States. Again. This time is different. He’s actually leading in the polls. Granted, the election is still more than a year away. A lot can happen between now and November 2016. Pundits say the odds of Trump becoming the GOP nominee are slim to none. Perhaps, but he’s maintained his lead for much longer than anyone (save the Don himself) would have predicted before the big debate. Donald Trump is, first and foremost, a media figure. Yes, he’s also a successful businessman, but reality television made him the household name he is today. Consequently, …

Aug 17, 2015
By Michael Rupured

A Golden Opportunity

In the first six months of 2016, I’m scheduled to release three novels. My fourth novel (Whippersnapper) is scheduled for release in January or February, with re-releases of my second and third novels in April or May and June or July. Shepherding them through the production process will keep me busy for the rest of the year. My struggle to define myself as a writer is more or less over. Oh, I’m still learning — I just don’t stress out about my identity anymore. I’m just me, and that’s pretty much who I am as a writer too. Challenges around genre continue to plague me. Up to now, my novels have been published as m-m romance. None of my books follow the conventions of the genre, but …

Aug 10, 2015
By Michael Rupured

My Feeble Eyes: Good News!

In early June, I blogged about my rapidly deteriorating vision. Instead of only bothering me when I try to read, since February or March, I’ve had trouble seeing anything much smaller than a school bus. The sudden change has been both frightening and frustrating. Since 2010, I’ve been getting injections of various drugs (Avastin, Eylea and Lucentis) in my left eye every month or two to treat my advanced (wet) macular degeneration. Recent retina scans of my left eye show a marked improvement, but even the top row on the eye chart has been impossible for me to see. Fortunately, until February or March, my right eye had been fine. At my June appointment, the retina specialist checked my right …

Aug 03, 2015
By Michael Rupured

My Brand, Revisited

Like it or not, marketing/promotion is part of being an author. Last August, I rolled out my new custom web site design. Since then, marketing guru Poppy Dennison has worked with me to further refine my brand. I’m forever in her debt. Here’s an excerpt from my post about my brand and marketing from a year ago. More about my chats with Poppy follows the excerpt. The multi-talented Charlie Cochet, goddess of m-m romance and a marketing genius, has patiently shown me the way. She’s rescued me a thousand times after I messed up my web site and couldn’t figure out how to make it work. She’s also pointed out the limitations of my setup, encouraged me to move to my own host, …

Jul 27, 2015
By Michael Rupured

Change is Gonna Come

There’s more to being an author than writing books. Writing new stories is the fun part. The publication process is a sometimes painful learning experience, but the real torture comes around the release of each new novel. I’m talking, of course, about marketing and promotion, Even for an attention whore like me, the amount of self-promotion a writer needs to do is a little off-putting. Sometimes, I feel a little cheap. The effectiveness of the various marketing strategies, techniques, and practices I’ve tried is difficult to measure. I know the number of comments my posts get on other blogs and the number of visits to my web site per day. Once a quarter, sales figures come with my royalty checks. A careful analysis …

Jul 20, 2015
By Michael Rupured

90 Days My Ass

Ads promise anyone can have a killer body in ninety days. All it takes is thirty minutes of exercise, three or four times a week. Results are guaranteed, or your money back. In the eloquent words of my father, may he rest in peace: horse shit. A perfect body has never been my goal. Not that I’d mind, of course, but I exercise for my health. Staying off medications is the goal. Any other results are just icing on the cake doughnuts I shouldn’t be eating. Nonetheless, I was sorely disappointed after joining the gym three years ago that three months of working out had produced so little change. Seriously. I almost quit. Eventually, getting to the gym became a priority for me. I’d like to workout …

Jul 13, 2015
By Michael Rupured

Full Circle

Ten Extra Pounds, Part 6 This is the sixth and final week of my 10 Extra Pounds series. Since starting the series, I haven’t lost any weight. In truth, I’ve continued to gain. At least the pace has slowed. Ten pounds makes a big difference. My clothes are a bit too snug. On my runs, my knees, ankles, and shins complain. The extra weight added almost three minutes to my pace for a mile too. Graphs on the web site where I record my weekly weight revealed a pattern. I put on ten or more pounds this time of year in each of the last three years. December or January I could understand, but May and June? I told my …

Jul 08, 2015
By Michael Rupured

Rehabbing A Good Time

A week ago today, my friend woke up in a longterm rehab facility in the middle of nowhere, Georgia. The first thirty days, he’s not allowed visitors. Getting him there took some doing, and I’ve been anxious about whether or not the program is a good fit for him. I got a letter Monday. Yeah, a real letter. For those of you under forty, a letter is a really long text message, handwritten on paper in a dead language known as cursive and delivered days later by a U.S. Postal Service carrier. Here’s the first paragraph of his letter: I hate this place! Please pick me up as soon as possible. It kills me to be here! The food is …

Jul 06, 2015
By Michael Rupured

Make it Stop!

Ten Extra Pounds, Part 5 Concern about ten extra pounds motivated me to act. Mostly, I worried. Unfortunately, as an emotional eater, my response was counterproductive. I ate like there was no tomorrow. Most days, I do fine from the time I get up in the morning until supper. Travel and catered meetings aside, my problem is post-supper grazing. I’ll snack until bedtime and then get up two or three times a night for more. On travel days, delivery is fast and easy. A sandwich from Jimmy John’s is my go-to choice. Sometimes I get chips, sometimes not, but I always get at least one of their delicious chocolate chip cookies. After my day in Savannah, I split a large …

Jun 30, 2015
By Michael Rupured

Traumatized

Someone very near and dear is dealing with serious addiction issues. Since this time last year, I’ve watched his life spin out of control. A month ago, the shit hit the fan. I first got concerned about a year ago. He was late for a dinner date by several hours and hadn’t called or anything. When he finally showed up, he  had abrasions on his cheek and forehead from fainting in a parking lot. He said it was too much sun. Odd things continued to happen. I’d ask questions, but not too many. You know — boundaries. Some things I’d rather not know. Ignorance is bliss. An incident in October knocked me for a loop. He’s lucky to be alive. With the …

Jun 29, 2015
By Michael Rupured

Road Trips

Ten Extra Pounds, Part 4 Gaining weight two weeks in a row had me concerned. Exercising only on weekends wasn’t offsetting the damage. Try as I might, however, I couldn’t get back to my normal routine. I had to go to district meetings in each quadrant of the state. The coordinators in each district put me on the program right before or after the noon hour. I go along for lunch to network and catch up on all the real news. I drove 200 miles (one way) to Tifton and, two days later, over to nearby Watkinsville. Driving makes me hungry. In both towns I ate chips and salsa like I’d never seen food before. In Watkinsville, a plate of …

Jun 22, 2015
By Michael Rupured

Working It

Ten Extra Pounds, Part 3 A six-mile run and a generous reward system caused me to gain a few pounds. No reason for concern. Nine times out of ten, I lose weight the week after a bad weigh in. Persistence is the key to success. Getting back on track became my top priority. The universe, however, conspired against me. Back-to-back buffets at the office got my week off to a bad start. There’s always too much food. I do what I can to make sure nothing goes to waste. A caterer prepared trays of sandwiches, chips, brownies, and chocolate chip cookies for our faculty retreat. The hummusy-tasting pimiento cheese sandwiches were a tad dry. The chips were easier to resist …

Jun 15, 2015
By Michael Rupured

Just Rewards

Ten Extra Pounds, Part 2 Last week, I confessed to gaining ten pounds. Mom suggested the extra weight was muscle from working out so much. Isn’t she sweet? Exercise did play a role. Working out explains maybe one or two pounds – and that’s being generous. Running is to blame for the remaining eight or nine extra pounds. Ironic, I know. Running three miles several times a week has kept the forty pounds I lost a couple of years ago from coming back. Eventually, to get the same result takes more effort. So I stepped up my game and ran six miles. Running twice my usual distance made me feel invincible. For the next week, I ate like I was seventeen …

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