The Crotchety Old Man

Jan 26, 2015
By Michael Rupured

Best Pants of All Time

Next to Philip Potter — the man at the center of the holiday series — Harold Clarkson is the character from my novels readers comment on the most. Harold plays a supporting role in After Christmas Eve and Happy Independence Day. His fans are especially impressed with his fashion sensibility. Because of Harold, readers often ask where I learned so much about hair, makeup, and clothing styles. Like every gay man of a certain age from the south, female relatives taught me everything I know. My mother and her sisters had strong opinions about how “well-bred” individuals should and shouldn’t look, and no compunction about voicing them. Until I was old enough to buy my own clothes, Mom was responsible for my wardrobe, often in a coordinated …

Jan 19, 2015
By Michael Rupured

Pet Writing Peeves: Extra Verbs

The monthly “Pet Writing Peeves” I’d hoped to post all year ended last June. I ran out of things to bitch about. Who knew? I’d welcome guest posts on the topic. Previous posts in the category have largely revolved around things other writers do that annoy me. My goal was to share things nobody told  me (or more likely, I just missed along the way). I’m grateful to the writers who comprise the Athens Writers Workshop for finally telling (or reminding) me. I will always <3 them. The focus of this post changed half a dozen times. The connection between several similar issues wasn’t immediately apparent to me (#SlowLearner). I’m not sure my command of grammar is sufficient to explain the what …

Jan 12, 2015
By Michael Rupured

My New Steam Mop

Buying gifts for me is a challenge. I don’t want much, and am perhaps a teeny bit hard to please. When I do want something, I tend to just buy it myself. If I’m not happy, it’s nobody’s fault but mine. Devoted readers of this blog may recall I get off on clean floors. My vacuum cleaners — an upright for carpets and a canister for everything else — do a great job. The performance of my vintage string mop, however, has been disappointing. When my sister asked what I’d like for Christmas this year, I said one of those steam mop thingies. A lack of clarity might explain why I’m so hard to please. Knowing me as she does, my sister followed …

Jan 05, 2015
By Michael Rupured

Revisions: Now or Later?

Approaches to penning a novel fall somewhere along a continuum. Writers on one end — plotters — think through every detail ahead of time. Those on the other end — pantsers — make stuff up as they go along. Either approach can result in a high quality novel. I bounce back and forth as the mood strikes. The right side of my brain is a plotter. The left side sabotages any attempts to plan things out. Keeping both sides happy is a struggle. Writing a good story is about getting to know the characters. Early in the process — whether pantsing or plotting — I don’t know them very well. By “the end,” we’ve become old friends. I still might not know everything about them, …

Dec 29, 2014
By Michael Rupured

Swap Resolutions for Priorities

For most of my career, instead of days off for “lesser” federal holidays, my employer has given us the week off between Christmas and New Year’s Day. Depending on when the holidays fall, I usually add days of vacation time to either end — both if possible. Most years, the holiday vacation is my longest break from the day job. Being off for more than a day or two gives me a chance to catch up. In the early years, an overly ambitious to-do list for my holiday vacation meant ending the year feeling more defeated than renewed. Eventually, I figured out what I was doing to myself and scaled back my plans and expectations for the long holiday break. The journaling I’ve done since 1979 …

Dec 23, 2014
By Chris T. Kat

Chris T. Kat

Chris T. Kat lives in the middle of Europe, where she shares a house with her husband of many years and their two children. She stumbled upon the M/M genre by luck and was swiftly drawn into it. She divides her time between work, her family—which includes chasing after escaping horses and lugging around huge instruments such as a harp—and writing. She enjoys a variety of genres, such as mystery/suspense, paranormal, and romance. If there’s any spare time, she happily reads for hours, listens to audiobooks or does cross stitch.

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Merry Christmas!
Dec 22, 2014
By Michael Rupured

A Crotchety Christmas

Christmas is a very special time of year. Competing with the grandeur and spectacle of the yuletide celebration is a tall order. No other holiday celebration even comes close to the month-long festival of parades, television specials, religious services, community events, parties, dinners, and gift exchanges taking place in the Christmas season. Bah humbug! I’m over it. Somewhere along the way, my Christmas spirit flew the coop. Good riddance. I’ve moved on, and left no forwarding address. I quit decorating years ago. My ex (and the one before him) were responsible for any decorations in my house. Dragging all that crap out, untangling strings of lights, and then taking a day to put it all back up was too much trouble. …

Dec 18, 2014
By Elizabeth Noble

Look into the past with ‘A Barlow Lens’

Hello and thank you Michael for hosting me today! Since this is the first official stop for A Barlow Lens I thought I’d begin by talking about the title of the book and the series. When I wrote Run for the Roses I intended it to be a standalone story. It sort of ended on a tiny cliff hanger, but the story itself was wrapped up. Then somewhere along the way between submitting and release I had an idea for a series. So, Circles was born. The series tagline is ‘every life is a circle’ and that is also an underlying theme of the series. Each book introduces one of two of the characters in the next book in the …
Dec 17, 2014
By M.J. O'Shea

M.J. O’Shea

Hi there! This is MJ O’Shea:) I’m here to talk about some of the characters in my newest book Corkscrewed! Corkscrewed is a twisty romantic comedy about one vineyard, three con artists, a very smart older lady, and a whole cast of minor characters who might be after all her money. Two of them just happen to steal each other’s hearts in the process. First we have our two main characters: Cary is a master con artist. He’s only in his early 30s but he’s been active for years. He’s cynical but sophisticated, excellent at slipping into whatever persona his current con requires. He’s tall and blond and golden skinned, which of course doesn’t hurt when it comes time to …
Dec 15, 2014
By Michael Rupured

More Sadism!

A few months ago, an author friend said she thought most writers are inherently narcissistic, masochistic, and sadistic. I’m inclined to agree. You need to be at least a little self-absorbed to devote the time to writing a novel, and the source of the story is often something from the writer’s life. Self-inflicted pain and suffering is a huge part of the process — especially for writers who bother to read reviews. My writers group taught me about conflict, stakes, and tension — the reason readers keep turning the page and where the sadism comes in. Fictional characters must suffer. The author needs to beat the living shit out of the hero, drag them through hail and high-water, and kick them when they’re down. Concern for …

Dec 08, 2014
By Michael Rupured

My Perfect Little Dog

Few things are more adorable than a six-week old chihuahua puppy. Within days of my ex getting a dog I didn’t especially want, I accepted the little darling and took an active role in his upbringing. Early socialization is important, especially with nervous breeds like chihuahuas. Perhaps as a result of all the early attention, Tico is a smart, fun-loving, and courageous little dog who has never met a stranger. Tico is also unmistakably the ex’s dog. Despite my early crotchetiness, his preference for the ex sometimes hurt my feelings a tiny little bit. Yeah — the dog hurt my feelings. I’ll own it. Enter Toodles. As with Tico, we took her everywhere. Fearing she too would prefer my amiable ex over her crotchety daddy, …

Dec 01, 2014
By Michael Rupured

Guilty Pleasure: Home Renovation Shows

Until Trading Spaces caught my attention, I didn’t watch home improvement shows. Paige Davis, the host, was absolutely adorable. The show’s stable of designers worked miracles overnight on a limited budget, with notable exceptions, most by designer Hildi Santo-Tomas. While You Were Out was good too, mostly because of hunky Evan Farmer. After Paige and Evan left, I quit watching both shows and moved on to shows about food. The pendulum of my interests has swung back. Home improvement shows once again dominate my TV viewing time. These aren’t the decorating shows of the past where paint, wallpaper, and fabric were used to transform a few rooms, with frequent complaints afterward about shoddy workmanship. Designers on the new shows gut some or all of the target …

Nov 27, 2014
By A.E. VIA

A.E. Via Introduces Her New Troublemakers!

Hello All and Happy Thanksgiving!! It’s so nice to be back on Michael’s blog again. Thank you so much for hosting me again, love. I truly appreciate it. And thank you out there for showing up today to see my two new releases coming out tomorrow! Black Friday! The biggest shopping day in the country and the start of the countdown to Christmas. So when you’re out at the crack of dawn trying to catch the door-buster sells, why don’t you take a second out to one-click a couple gifts for yourself too. For the past couple months I’ve been working on the next installment to my bestselling series ‘Nothing Special.’ The third installment is entitled ‘Here Comes Trouble,’ and …
Nov 24, 2014
By Michael Rupured

Social Network Fatigue

Once upon a time, the only social networking options were snail-mail, rotary dial telephones, and face-to-face. Travel costs and long distance telephone charges made letters the preferred means for keeping up with out-of-town friends and family. When not in class or hanging out with local friends, I spent hours on the telephone talking with them. Yeah. I can be kinda catty chatty. I got my first email account in the 1980s through work. In those early days, all messages were business-related. Spam hadn’t yet been invented. Gradually, folks stopped worrying about nosey employers. For family and friends with an addy, email became the preferred means of communication. My first home computer, purchased in the 1990s, came preloaded with AOL. Dial-up access ruled out …

Nov 17, 2014
By Michael Rupured

Flying Solo

When I joined the gym two years ago, I paid extra for weekly sessions with a trainer for two reasons. First, having not set foot in a gym since high school, I needed someone to show me what to do. Second, the extra cost kept me going. I’m way too cheap to let my pricey membership go to waste. After watching several seasons of The Biggest Loser, I was nervous about working with a trainer. Getting up in my face a la Jillian Michaels is counterproductive. I’ll pout and go all passive-aggressive on your ass. Based on my experience, trainers are much less confrontational than what you might expect. Outside of the military and reality television, they have to be nice …

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