The Crotchety Old Man

Jun 26, 2017
By Michael Rupured

Uninformed Pantsing

Writing fiction was missing from my formal education. Discussions about the novels and short stories we read in school revolved around major themes, symbolism, and meaning — not how to craft a story. Or maybe I just forgot. Either way, I consider myself a self-taught author. I make my stories up as I go along. Writers call it pantsing. Based on my recent epiphany, I’d call my old process “uninformed pantsing.” Rather than the main character’s journey, my stories revolve around an event (or series of events) with a cast of characters to show how things play out. Sometimes, it worked. More often, it did not — especially lately. After my epiphany about the central role of the main character …

Jun 19, 2017
By Michael Rupured

The Cure for My Genre Identity Issues

I recently shared about giving up on writing novels and accidentally discovering the problem with my abandoned manuscripts. Confusion about how to proceed with the trilogy I envisioned prompted me to turn to the gods of the internet for help. A few clicks later, I stumbled upon the cure for my writing woes. My problem is embarrassingly basic. My stories –finished and unfinished alike — revolve around events occurring at particular points in time rather than any particular character. For evidence, I offer my pal’s question about my latest abandoned manuscript: Who is the maim character? I’m not trying to be avant garde or make some kind of literary  statement. People have tried to tell me this for years, but I just didn’t get …

Jun 12, 2017
By Michael Rupured

Genre Identity Issues: Part Two

In the previous past, I shared I’d quit writing novels. Too many things compete for my attention to waste time on stories that never go anywhere. Maybe I’ll pick it up again when I retire. At first, not writing was a relief. The pressure to produce was gone. I caught up on chores around the house, spruced up the yard, and watched a ton of television. But quitting nagged at my conscience. In truth, I hadn’t quit writing novels. For some reason (or reasons), I couldn’t do it anymore. I had tried and tried until I finally just gave up. What was going on? The possible causes I could identify made no sense. They weren’t new, and for the most part, had been around …

Jun 05, 2017
By Michael Rupured

My Genre-Identity Issues

My process for crafting a novel is entirely organic. That’s a snooty way of saying I have no idea what I’m doing. I get an idea, and, with little forethought or planning, start writing. The plot, subplots, and characters evolve along the way until, with any luck, the story comes together. My first four attempts at writing a book resulted in three published novels and an unpublished memoir. I credit my pals in the Athens Writers Workshop for the novels. They held my hand through countless revisions of Until Thanksgiving, watched over my shoulder as I wrote No Good Deed, and provided invaluable feedback on early drafts and revisions of Happy Independence Day. After leaving the Athens Writers Workshop to free up more time …

May 01, 2017
By Michael Rupured

It’s About that Big Truck…

In gay parlance, I’m not a “car queen.” Motor vehicles do nothing for me. Even the nicest car or truck is simply a means from point A to point B. Recently, however, I’ve been very interested in one particular vehicle. A bunch of guys rent a house around the corner. A year or so ago, they expanded into a second house which is two doors down from me. All the guys have vehicles, and, from what I see, a vehicle-owning significant other who often spends the night. The street between the two houses often looks like a parking lot. Judging from the license plates, most of these young men and their women hail from a tiny little county in rural Georgia. Some of the gals drive Jeeps, …

Apr 03, 2017
By Michael Rupured

Surprising Results

A paper-based system is my go-to method for record-keeping. The transition to digital files and folders has been slow. My system works. If it ain’t broke…. The complicated, time consuming, and essentially useless paper-based system I created for tracking royalties is broken. Excel would be better, but I’m spreadsheet challenged. Minions handle such things for me at the day job. At home, I’m on my own. Having used it since WordStar dominated the market, I know my way around word processing software. An online app converted a table I created in Word to an Excel file. My ex (he’s doing great!) helped me set up the formulas. Entering five years’ worth of royalty statements took about thirty minutes. Wow! Why did I wait …

Mar 06, 2017
By Michael Rupured

A History of Porn

In the eighth grade I saw my first pornography. A neighbor a year or two older than me was showing off his dirty magazine collection. I’d seen lots of Playboys and a Penthouse or two, but nothing as graphic as the photos in his collection. Where my neighbor found his dirty magazines is a mystery. I suspect his older brother played a role and perhaps a dirty bookstore. They were around in the early 1970s, weren’t they? My scoutmaster had an 8mm projector. I heard about the movies he showed some of the guys, but was never included in the viewings. Being excluded didn’t bother me a bit. In fact, I was kind of glad. A few years later, the manager …

Feb 16, 2017
By Michael Rupured

Great Service

As your resident Crotchety Old Man, bitching and complaining is what I do. Exacting my revenge with a withering review is immensely satisfying and more than a little fun. Offering praise is rare. Fairness dictates equal treatment for businesses that go above and beyond the call of duty. My history with cars can be divided into two distinct periods: before and after finding out maintenance involves more than adding gasoline and replacing worn tires. My inability to tell a thingamajig from a watchamacallit cost me a fortune. “Whatever you say, man,” tends to double the cost of any repair. Rather than buying someone else’s problem, every ten years since 1995 I’ve bought a new vehicle and, at first, used the dealer for scheduled …

Feb 06, 2017
By Michael Rupured

Back in the Saddle

Good news for anyone who has missed my blog. I’m back! Four months without having to write a post every week was good for my soul.  Time off helped me gain some perspective. Becoming a published author remains the coolest thing I’ve ever done. Five years into the gig, however, the new has worn off. Between writing and the day job, I tend to work all the time, but fame and fortune have eluded me. Poor, pitiful, me… To say nobody reads my stories is untrue and unfair. My books may not fly off the shelf, but they do sell. In fact, any of them have been read by far more people than have read all my academic and professional papers, combined. …

Jan 02, 2017
By Michael Rupured

Predictions for 2017

Happy New Year! Can you believe it’s 2017? The older I get, the faster January seems to come around. My resolutions (I prefer to think of them as priorities) haven’t changed much, so this year, I’ll take a stab at predicting what will happen in 2017. Despite Mom’s fervent prayers, Donald Trump will be President of the United States. I know this is a bitter pill for many to swallow — including yours truly. However, it is what it is. Trump haters are no better than the Obama haters of the past two elections. Get over yourself. I will finish Cold Revenge, my next novel. Life often gets in the way of my writing plans, so progress has been slow. …

Dec 20, 2016
By Michael Rupured

A Christmas Letter

Dear Friends, Holiday greetings from the Deep South. This year, I’m not sending any cards. My declining vision is such that hand-writing notes and addressing envelopes is too difficult. Yeah, I could print labels and mail form letters, but that’s about as personal as those stupid holiday email messages with dancing elves or some such. May as well write a holiday blog post. Regarding my vision (since I brought it up), I’m legally blind in one eye with 20/60 to 20/80 vision in the other. The retina specialist has given up on my bad (right) eye, but I get injections in the other one every four weeks to keep it from getting any worse. I see well enough to do most of what …

Aug 29, 2016
By Michael Rupured

Closed for the Season

I’ve blogged at least once every week for more than eight years. The Crotchety Old Man was my first blog. I added The Adventures of Tico and Toodles when my Chihuahuas were puppies (links below). Banging out a post took maybe an hour. A small but loyal following seemed to enjoy my little essays. Some said I should write a book. So I did. Publishing my first novel forced some changes. The blog morphed into a web site for Michael Rupured, author. Instead of blogging for fun, I have a job to do: sell books. The bar is higher too. Every post has to be brilliant, error free, and beautifully composed. I spend hours perfecting each and every one. A demanding day job and other …

Aug 22, 2016
By Michael Rupured

The Philip Potter Stories: Inspiration

I left my old Kentucky home in 1996 for a temporary assignment in Washington, DC. My fortieth birthday was just around the corner. I was bitter about being over-the-hill and—once again—single. The change of scenery would do me good. I rented out my house, packed two cats and all my worldly possessions into a rented truck, and drove to DC. For the next eighteen months, I lived in an apartment two blocks from Dupont Circle. A colleague hooked me up with a great group of gay guys who invited me along to parties and showed me around town. I may have been over-the-hill in a college town like Lexington, but in DC, Stella got her groove back. Until Thanksgiving, my …

Aug 20, 2016
By Michael Rupured

My Diabetic Doggy: Good News Update

Toodles was diagnosed with diabetes in May. Insulin injections twice a day are the only treatment option. Because she turns into mini-Kujo, it takes two people to give her an injection. My last Diabetic Doggy post (July 11) revolved around figuring out a way to give her the injections after my ex moved back into his condo at the end of July. The veterinarian checked with an internal medicine specialist at the UGA Vet School. Oral medications are available, but have not been successful with dogs. He could put a port on her back (a surgical procedure), but they get blocked up easily and dogs don’t tolerate them very well. A pen, like an EpiPen, is another option. At first, …

Aug 15, 2016
By Michael Rupured

Stop the Pirates

Once upon a time, books were only available as hard copies. Digital formats didn’t yet exist. The  pricey hardback edition came out first, and if it did well, a paperback edition followed. Readers could buy the book, borrow a copy from the library or a friend, or shoplift a copy from a retailer. Stealing from bookstores is a bigger problem than I would have thought. I just expected readers as a group to have more integrity. Talk about naive… All readers aren’t criminals, of course, but stealing is against the law. Anyone who shoplifts knows it’s a crime. I’m not sure readers understand that sending ebooks to friends or downloading from a pirate site is stealing too. What happens after a …

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