The Crotchety Old Man

Dec 14, 2015
By Michael Rupured

Writing Pet Peeves: Point of View Issues

Point of View is the perspective from which a story is told. A writer may choose to tell a story in first person (I was born) or in third person (he/she was born). I suppose second person (you were born) is possible, but is more appropriate for personal letters than works of fiction. Whatever the perspective, the narrator can only comment (or think about) things he or she can see, feel, touch, taste, or hear themselves. If Bill is the narrator, he can’t say “Mark knew what Bill meant,” unless, of course, Bill is psychic and can read Mark’s mind. Unless Bill’s looking in a mirror, he can’t say his face turned red, either. Instead, he’d probably say his face …

Dec 07, 2015
By Michael Rupured

The Party Scene

Partying is a part of growing up. At some point, most people go through a party phase. A few souls avoid the party scene all together, but most people take at least a short tour. Some never leave. The party scene revolves around alcohol, music, and sex. Drugs have always been around, but didn’t become mainstream until maybe the Sixties. Things have changed a lot since then. I smoked cigarettes and drank alcohol before I was old enough to drive a car. I added marijuana to the mix in college. A few months later, I lost my virginity. Within a year, I’d figured out I was gay. My friends and I went out six nights a week, only because nothing was open on Sundays. We’d hang out before …

Nov 30, 2015
By Michael Rupured

Best Laid Plans

Like most people, I’m a busy guy. No doubt, countless others — like any working mom with young children — are busier. Frankly, that’s a contest I have no desire to win. Less busy is my goal. Being an author is a full-time job. Unfortunately, I’ve yet to give my writing career the attention it deserves — a fact unlikely to change before I retire from the day job. Until then, writing takes a backseat to other priorities. This is my first year without a new release since 2012. I blame a self-induced identity crisis. Getting all up in my head about who I am as a writer kept me from writing another word. Sage advice from Mom, Charlie Cochet, and Tali Spencer got me through. …

Nov 23, 2015
By Michael Rupured

No Tipping?

The latest trend in upscale dining is to do away with tipping. Instead, fine dining establishments say they will pay staff a respectable wage. Of course, they’ll also jack prices up by twenty percent or more to cover the cost of higher wages. Many moons ago, I waited tables. For more than a decade, I pasted a smile on my face and did my best to please often surly customers. Although I did my time in a dive or two, most of the restaurants where I worked were high end. For much of that time, the money I made waiting tables was my only source of income. I was paid $2.01 an hour (eventually it went up to $2.10) without any …

Nov 16, 2015
By Michael Rupured

A 5K to Remember

My first 5K event took place in January of 2009. I signed up to run in the Chilly Dawg because it  was sponsored by my employer.  The plan was to walk it, but I quit before I even reached the half way point. In 2011 I ran in the Sleighbell.  Having failed miserably at my first 5K, I was bound and determined to finish. To guarantee my success, I trained for three months. I set my pedometer to 5K, ran at least three times a week, and had no trouble going the distance.  I was ready. The temperature on race day was a brisk 34 degrees when I got up. I put on my running shorts, and to remind me of my …

Nov 13, 2015
By Michael Rupured

My Work Here is Done

My dear friend has been in rehab for almost five months now. After 90 days in the program, he earns a four-day pass every month. For both his October and November passes, he came to stay with me. Given the way things turned out in the weeks he stayed with me prior to entering rehab, I was anxious about his first visit. He’s doing great, but I’m a horrible cop, and was afraid of what might happen. Thankfully, my fears were unfounded. The program he’s in is run by the residents. He got on the kitchen team in the second month, and by the third had been promoted to kitchen crew leader — one of only three crew leaders at …

Nov 09, 2015
By Michael Rupured

Method Writing

Writing a novel is a process. The path from conceptualization to completion can vary. No two of the many authors who I’ve talked with about their process approach the task the same way. My process has been different for every novel. Or so I thought. Upon closer inspection, a single thread runs through the beginning of the process for all my stories. Whether I have an idea for a whole story or just a concept, it’s serious when I start writing paragraphs about the characters. These short little bios include a few essential details about the character, his or her appearance, and a bit about their past. The more I write, the more fleshed out the characters become in my head. …

Nov 02, 2015
By Michael Rupured

A Real Time Change

Over the weekend we switched back to Standard Time. Few things mess with my head more than a time change. Frankly, setting the clock up or back does little more than piss me off.  Everyone talks about gaining or losing an hour. Whatever. In the end, we still have just twenty-four hours in a day. No matter how you cut it,twenty-four hours just isn’t enough time for everything I want to do. Forget shifting things around an hour. I’m ready for a time change I can believe in — one that magically results in a few extra hours every day. Not having to work would help. Don’t get me wrong — I’m grateful for a job I still love. But if I had enough …

Oct 26, 2015
By Michael Rupured

New Edits for an Old Story

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the arrival of first round edits for Whippersnapper foiling my plans to spend Labor Day weekend working on my next novel. Two days later, first round edits for the re-release of No Good Deed (formerly After Christmas Eve) appeared in my inbox. Two sets of edits to work on in addition to my duties for the day job freaked me out a bit. Some authors have no problem moving back and forth between several different stories. Not me. Immersing myself in a story takes time. Since I was already up to my eyeballs in Whippersnapper, I decided to ignore No Good Deed until I finished those edits. Going from my fourth novel (Whippersnapper) to my second …

Oct 19, 2015
By Michael Rupured

My Old Kentucky Home

I grew up in Lexington, Kentucky — the thoroughbred horse capital of the world. Getting back home happens less and less often. There’s much to love about my old hometown, and I find myself missing it more and more all the time. If I had to pick one thing I miss the most about Lexington — other than friends and family — it would be the bluegrass. Bluegrass is the best of all the turf grasses. Nothing compares with a barefoot walk through tall, cool bluegrass. I love the dark green color and the way it shimmers in the breeze. The last time I was home, I didn’t get a chance check out the gay scene. Things have changed since I left. Last …

Oct 12, 2015
By Michael Rupured

Over the Hill

“Over the hill” is a term we’ve all heard, and on some level, come to fear. A quick search turned up the definition. Past the peak of one’s youthful freshness and vigor; far along in life; old. You talking to me? I continued my research. A few web sites said “over the hill” applies to anyone twenty years older than you are. Interesting, but a tad depressing. I wanted to find the definitive point at which one has indeed reached the apex. The Urban Dictionary says “over the hill” applies to people forty and over because they have reached the climax of their life time and it’s downhill from then on. Forty was so long ago, I can’t recall if I’d climaxed or …

Oct 05, 2015
By Michael Rupured

My Backyard

Outdoor spaces where I’ve lived over the years haven’t been very functional. I blame myself. Once the gardening bug bit, I viewed each potential new residence more for garden potential than anything else. Functionality never entered my mind. The garden I abandoned three years ago contained more than 600 varieties. When I bought the place nearly two decades ago, I visualized a garden worthy of a spot on the hoity-toity ladies’ garden tour. Deer, drought, fire ants, and Bermuda grass conspired against me. Throw in heat, humidity, budget constraints, and the size of the yard, and I never stood a chance. A walk through the garden was pleasant enough, but the overall setup wasn’t conducive to lingering. The peculiar lot lacked even a …

Oct 04, 2015
By Michael Rupured

Three Months into Rehab

Three months ago, I shared about a dear friend who was dealing with a serious addiction issue (Traumatized, June 30, 2015). He was hooked on crystal meth and GBH, faced drug charges in two counties, had lost his job, and no longer cared if he lived or died. For three long weeks, I worried an overdose or car accident would kill him. On June 30th, he checked into Bridges of Hope, a rehab facially in the middle of nowhere in South Georgia. The staff and board of directors are all graduates of the facility. The program revolves around the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. The residents (all male with a capacity of 50) rotate through various teams. Each team is …

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 …

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