The Crotchety Old Man

Sep 28, 2015
By Michael Rupured

First Round Edits

Labor Day weekend, I took off an extra day from the day job. Four days is a nice block of time to get some writing done. I planned to make progress on my new mystery series. The first book in the series — my fifth novel — is a bit more complicated than previous projects, so the going has been slow. As always happens when I have a plan, fate intervened. The long-awaited and much dreaded first round of edits for Whippersnapper appeared in my inbox on Friday. I don’t usually dread edits, but this time, I was worried about how much work would be involved. Because they are “structural” and focus on the story, first round edits can be difficult. Changing a …

Sep 21, 2015
By Michael Rupured

Home-Grown Tomatoes

The older I get, the more I appreciate the taste of a good, home-grown tomato. Back in Kentucky the plants went in the ground toward the middle of May with hopes the first fruit would ripen by the Fourth of July. Without buying big plants or cherry tomatoes, the first ripe tomato rarely appear before the end of July. Within a week or two everyone I knew had baskets of tomatoes, squash, and cucumbers they couldn’t eat. My first summer in Georgia I had a Kentucky-style tomato harvest. Coworkers and neighbors welcomed the surplus. That was almost twenty years ago. Since then, thanks to deer, drought and/or excessive heat,  I’ve had precious little luck growing them. A few years ago, I bought a …

Sep 14, 2015
By Michael Rupured

I Pod Now

I drink a lot of coffee. Caffeine is my drug of choice now, and my last remaining addiction. Just the thought of giving up my Joe gives me a headache. Over the decades, my coffee tastes and preferences have evolved. I’ve been a devoted and loyal customer at different times for Maxwell House, Folgers, Chock Full o’ Nuts, and Eight O’Clock. I drink mine black. A cup of flavored coffee is okay now and then, but not a pot, so I never buy any. I stepped up to whole beans eight or ten years ago. Freshly ground coffee smells wonderful, and tastes better too. Within a few weeks, I replaced my grinder and drip coffeemaker with a Grind N Brew …

Sep 07, 2015
By Michael Rupured

Old Habits, RIP

Change is a fact of life. No, I don’t mean nickels, dimes, and quarters. I’m talking about things being different than they were before, largely as a result of progress. Thinking about changes in my own life, I came up with ten things I don’t do anymore — some thanks to progress, others due to advancing age. Print Photographs. The days of having rolls of film laying around waiting to be developed are over. Now I’ve got hundreds of pictures I never would have taken before that, unless I post them on Facebook, nobody will ever see. Damn smartphones. Fry Chicken. To tell you the truth, I’m not much intro frying anything these days. Health has less to do with my frying …

Aug 31, 2015
By Michael Rupured


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 …

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