The Crotchety Old Man

Jul 09, 2012
By Michael Rupured

My Section at the Bookstore

I never dreamed I could write a novel. Sure, I’ve always loved to write. But a novel? My first project was a memoir for a reason. I didn’t need to write dialogue, develop believable and interesting characters, or come up with clever and intriguing plots. Just write about my crazy family and the rest would take care of itself. Though I did it for all the wrong reasons, joining the Athens Writers Group changed my life. I wanted help with the submission process, which of course, required reading my manuscript. My friend Adrienne Wilder, an emeritus member of our group and a successful writer (click here for her books), was the first to try to tell me that my memoir…er…needed …

Jul 08, 2012
By Michael Rupured

Ready for Wednesday

Last night I got to hear what the writers in my group thought about the first four chapters of After Christmas Eve. Before I tell you what they said, I have to give you a little back story. Otherwise, this would be a three sentence post, and you know me better than that. Every word  counts, but the beginning of any book is especially important. It needs to lure the reader in and give him or her a reason to keep turning the page. The first 5,000 words of Until Thanksgiving, then known as Addicted, went through the group four times before I got it right. Last night, the first four chapters of After Christmas Eve got a thumbs up …

Jul 07, 2012
By Michael Rupured

Ongoing Relationship Issues

You haven’t read anything about my diet and exercise program since me and Healthy Lifestyle started feuding early last month. I said then that we wouldn’t be having this trouble if she just didn’t expect so much from me. Seriously. “Fine,” she said. “Do things your way. Remember how that worked for you? Remember where you were back before we met? Is that what you want?” Lighten up, bitch. And so it goes. That I know she’s right doesn’t keep me from resenting the way she bosses me around. I mean, really–I’m a grown-ass man. I’m trying to exercise for at least thirty minutes, six days a week. Trying. I’ve missed a day or two here and there because of …

Jul 06, 2012
By Michael Rupured

Ready for Chapter Ten

I’ve always enjoyed a good jigsaw puzzle, whether the wooden puzzles I played with as a toddler  or the 1500 piece monsters I’ve tackled since. The more complicated the picture, the more satisfying it was to put the puzzle together. Writing After Christmas Eve is like working a puzzle. The pieces are all on the table, and I have a picture of the finished product to guide me. It’s just a matter of putting everything together. By comparison, writing Until Thanksgiving was more like going through a maze. I knew where it started, but had no idea where it ended or how to get there. There were several dead ends and wrong turns before I finally found my way to the end …

Jul 03, 2012
By Michael Rupured

Like Thinking in French

I took French in junior high and high school and plodded through three semesters of Russian in college. I never learned enough to think in either language. I was too busy in college. High school is a different story. Five years is a lot of time to have learned so little. I  should have been thinking in French. Becoming a good writer is like learning to think in French. The more you practice, the better you get. Eventually, good writing becomes second nature. Then the writer’s mind is free to focus on more interesting elements–like pacing, plot and character development. With experience, these things become second nature, too, and the focus turns to new ways to improve the writing. I’ve …

Jul 02, 2012
By Michael Rupured

Undeterred

After five weeks of waiting, today the message I’ve been waiting for appeared in my mailbox. The publisher that’s been reviewing Until Thanksgiving has finally decided. “Unfortunately, your story is not a fit for us at this time.” This rejection is not a failure. The first query I sent out resulted in a request for the full manuscript. That’s progress. The message wasn’t a form letter. The editor offered some additional comments to give me an idea of why. She said, “For contemporary fiction, we’re especially seeking manuscripts with very tight and focused plot lines to match the quick and demanding pace of today’s contemporary reader. Especially with an upscale urban setting like NorthWest DC and a murder sub-plot, the …

Jul 01, 2012
By Michael Rupured

Movie Review: Magic Mike

Last night my partner and I joined a group of our girlfriends from the gym to see Magic Mike. I can’t remember the last time I saw a movie in the theater. Every few years, I have to go again just to be reminded why I wait for the DVDs. Last night was no exception. We arrived thirty minutes early. My partner had purchased our tickets online, via Fandango. We still had to wait in the long ticket line, but it was nice not having to worry about running out of tickets from a sell-out crowd. Inside the theater we joined an even longer line for refreshments. I didn’t bring my glasses with me and couldn’t read the prices. Figuring …

Jun 29, 2012
By Michael Rupured

Daddy Wants New Shoes

Some people seem destined for certain careers and occupations. They’re somehow born knowing what they want to do until they die or retire.  For them, instead of a place to hang out with friends or an escape from the drama at home, school is a road to their dreams. No wonder they did so well. I was never one of those people. Uncertainty dominated my extended adolescence–a stage ending somewhere in my late twenties. I tried on various jobs and college majors like Imelda Marcos in a shoe store. I’d wear my new selection around to check the fit, eventually tossing it onto the ever growing heap of rejects that littered my resume. Settling on a field of study for …

Jun 27, 2012
By Michael Rupured

Another Award!

The nice lady at Floating With the Breeze has nominated my blog for a Reader Appreciation Award. Wow! That’s the second award my blog has been nominated for in as many days. Thank you so much! As before, these nominations come with stipulations. There are certain questions I must answer. And with me, most the time all you really need to do is ask. What is my favorite color? Depends on what you’re talking about. I like clear red flowers, turquoise water at a white sandy beach, the rich green of Kentucky Bluegrass in the spring, and black pants because my ass doesn’t look quite so big. What is my favorite animal? A little five-pound, long-haired Chihuahua named Toodles. She …

Jun 26, 2012
By Michael Rupured

I Win!

Today I’m sending a million billion hugs and kisses to Vikki over at The View Outside. Thanks to her, I’ve (finally) received my very first nomination for a blog award–Mrs. Sparkly’s Ten Commandments Award. Isn’t it gorgeous? As a  nominee, I’m required to answer a number of questions about myself. You know how I hate to talk about myself. But as it’s required, I’ll do my level best to answer the questions with candor, honesty, and the dignity they deserve. Describe myself in seven words. Seven? Seriously? But I’m so damn complicated… What keeps me up at night? In no particular order: too much coffee, thinking about various and sundry aspects of my work in progress, restless Chihuahuas, body functions, …

Jun 25, 2012
By Michael Rupured

And We’re Off!

Nearly two weeks ago, I submitted a blurb, synopsis, character profiles, and chapter summaries for my next novel, After Christmas Eve, for critique by the writers in my group. I’ve never known enough to be able to put those pieces together without first having finished writing the book. I couldn’t wait to hear what they would say. Saturday night I got the verdict. The general consensus was that everything sounded okay. However, the devil is in the details the barebones outline didn’t provide–a fact that somewhat limited the kind of feedback they could provide. Everyone agreed that the story is chocked full of cliche characters, plot twists, and conventions. For the uninitiated, that is NOT a good thing. To some …

Jun 22, 2012
By Michael Rupured

Touched

Yesterday’s post ended with me saying I’d have to figure out whether or not to visit my dying father all by myself. I was wrong about having to do it by myself. The comments I received here, on my Facebook page, and in dozens of email messages helped immensely. Thank you. That so many would take the time to offer encouragement and support touched me deeply. Turns out, I’m not the first to have an awkward parental relationship. Lots of people have had less than ideal relationships with a parent–especially the father. Several of the emails made me cry. Maybe I haven’t had things so bad after all. I made my hotel reservations today for a trip to Lexington next month. …

Jun 21, 2012
By Michael Rupured

Torn

We’ve never had what you’d call a close relationship. Truth be told, we’ve barely had much of a relationship at all. For years, I never knew the difference. You can’t miss what you haven’t had. During the many years we lived together, we barely spoke. We weren’t mad or upset. The unfortunate truth is that we just didn’t have anything to say to each other. We’d walk by each other like strangers in an airport, hardly acknowledging each other at all. Fond memories? Not so much. Yeah, there are moments here and there. But mostly I hoped he wouldn’t notice me. Because when he did, it usually meant I was in trouble. I can’t remember him praising me, telling me …

Jun 20, 2012
By Michael Rupured

Ruined

Except for a brief hiatus when my vision started failing, I’ve always been a big reader. I’ll read anything that keeps me turning the pages. Any genre, fiction or nonfiction–makes no difference to me. A good read is a good read. Though I’ve often been a voracious reader, I never knew or cared much about the technical aspects of the story. Ignorance is bliss. If I found it entertaining, it was a good book. A lot of so-called great books weren’t that entertaining to me. That’s fine. To each his own. Now and then I’d run across a book that failed to keep my interest. I’d set it aside without giving too much thought to the reasons why it failed to …

Jun 18, 2012
By Michael Rupured

A Little Gratitude

Today I’d like to give a shout out to some blogs. The writers of these blogs are brilliant and/or have excellent taste, as they’re all followers of my blog.  Check a few out. I have to say it’s a diverse and eclectic group. A tip of the hat to… 4 Dudes Relationship Advice Adopting James Airports Made Simple anauthor’slife Chicks with Ticks Coco J. Ginger Says The Coevas Official Blog Faithfinding FicFaq The Five Reflections Fix it or Deal Floating with the Breeze Goodbye Whoopee Pie Health DeMystified Heaven 4 Earth I Am Zion Inside Nana Bread’s Head Mary Louise Eklund My Look on the World ooamerica A Portia Adams Adventure Placeholder for a new title Robotic Rhetoric Sean Lynch’s …

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