The Crotchety Old Man

May 25, 2015
By Michael Rupured

Where There’s a Will…

Do you have a will? A lot of people avoid estate planning — as if not talking about death will somehow keep it from happening. Wrong! Moreover, the worst thing you can do to your heirs is die without an estate plan. In recent posts I’ve mentioned my plans to retire in the next five to seven years. I’ll get a small pension from a previous employer plus Social Security. The bulk of my retirement income, however, will come from the money I’ve saved (including the match from my employer). At this stage of the game, the balance in my retirement accounts is significant.   God willing, my life force and my account balance will zero out at the same time. If I die before the …

May 18, 2015
By Michael Rupured

A Taste of Retirement

Submission deadlines make me nervous. Working without an outline and only vague ideas about where the story might go means I could hit a wall at any time. Prompted by a May 1 deadline for Whippersnapper, I took a week off from the day job in mid-April for a taste of what life will be like after I retire. I finished the first draft Tuesday evening. Wednesday and Thursday I worked on revisions. Friday and Saturday I wrote the dreaded synopsis the publisher requests with every submission. Vision issues keep me from writing for more than a few hours in one sitting, so I had time to do other things. The weather sucked. Aside from a few sunny hours on a couple of days, rain made doing much of anything outside difficult. …

May 11, 2015
By Michael Rupured

My Best Friend

According to wikipedia, a friendship is a relationship of mutual affection between two or more people. That casts a pretty wide net. I’m fond of a whole lot of people. Lucky for me, some of them feel the same way about me. By definition, that makes us friends. I’m grateful for each and every one of them. Many date back to grade school. Just knowing someone that long is special. In a world where everyone comes and goes so much, more than forty years of shared history carries a lot of weight. Like a mother with many children, I love my friends equally. Naming a best friend is risky business. I’m taking the risk this year and doubt any runners up will take offense The 2015 recipient of …

May 04, 2015
By Michael Rupured

The Elliptical and Me

I don’t perspire — I sweat like Niagara Falls. Consequently, I prefer to run without a shirt — a preference that rules out running for most of the winter. Last year, I forced myself to run on a treadmill at the gym. I tried to focus on the silver lining, but time on the awful machine passed slower than ice-cold molasses. Hated it. An exercise program I followed last fall included cardio suggestions. Since I was running two or three times a week, I skipped the extra cardio. When the weather turned cold, I decided to try the recommended twenty minutes on an elliptical. Couldn’t be worse than the treadmill. Loved it. Sensors on the elliptical monitor my heart rate, which is shown on …

Apr 27, 2015
By Michael Rupured

On Bruce Jenner

Watching Bruce Jenner win the decathlon at the 1976 Olympics stands out in my memory. I’m not a decathlon fan, but something about Bruce caught my attention. Becoming “the greatest athlete in the world” was special. After the Olympics, his star faded. Like most celebrity athletes, he turned up now and then for cameo appearances on television and in movies. I didn’t pay much attention to him. The next time I noticed him was on the Kardashian’s reality show. I’m not a fan of the Kardashian clan, and have always wondered what they did to warrant so much attention. His connection to them came as a surprise. I did catch a few episodes of the show. The shocker for me was …

Apr 20, 2015
By Michael Rupured

My Dual-Career Household

University faculty positions are very demanding. Many of my colleagues work all the time. I don’t. Balancing work and my personal life has always been a priority, and in my opinion, the reason I’ve managed to stay productive. My writing career is also very demanding. Penning a novel takes time. The publishing process adds additional time demands. Promoting books, maintaining my web site, and engaging on social networks adds still more to an already very full plate. Since becoming an author, striking a balance between work and my personal life is no longer possible. After getting home from the day job, I spend several hours on my writing career. I try to make exercising a priority, but otherwise, I work all the time. Fortunately, my faculty position …

Apr 13, 2015
By Michael Rupured

Busted Routines

I’m very much a creature of habit. Toodles and I move through our days like well-oiled machines. Routines drive our actions from the time our feet/paws hit the floor in the morning until our heads hit the pillow at night. Doing things in a particular order helps me get more done and keeps me from having to think about what’s next. Disruptions push my needle into the crotchety zone, and sometimes, flat out piss me off. Shocking, I know, but true. Routines have always worked for me. I could be wrong — wouldn’t be the first time — but that’s how I remember things. Lately, instead of helping me get everything done, my well-established routines too often get in the way of what I want to do. My …

Apr 06, 2015
By Michael Rupured

My Big News

Attending the Dreamspinner Press conference for authors in Orlando a month ago was an awesome experience. The highlight was talking with the owner and the editor in chief about my writing career. In fact, I’d call those conversations life-changing. Regular visitors to my blog know I’ve been disappointed by abysmal sales for my last two novels. It’s not the money. I write to be read. Knowing nobody would read another historical novel took the wind out of my sails. Dreamspinner Press (and MLR) cater to romance readers. As any fan of romance whose read my books will tell you, I don’t write romance. I’m grateful to both publishers for taking a chance on my stories, but have often felt like a fish out …

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, …

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