• The Case of the Missing Drag Queen

    Broke, saddled with a mountain of debt, and dependent on his Aunt Callie’s support, aspiring writer Luke Tanner has returned to Kentucky to put his life back together after a failed five-year relationship. On his twenty-fifth birthday, Luke meets diminutive Pixie Wilder, a long-time performer at the Gilded Lily. After headliner Ruby Dubonnet doesn’t show up, Pixie takes her place as the star of the show—a motive that makes her a suspect in Ruby’s disappearance. Luke reluctantly agrees to help his new-found friend clear her name. He and Pixie set out to find the missing drag queen, and in the process, put themselves in danger.

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  • Aucune Bonne Action

    La veille de Noël, en 1966, Philip Potter, un conservateur du Smithsonian au grand cœur, termine ses achats de dernière minute. Au même instant, James, son compagnon depuis plusieurs années, s’ôte la vie chez eux. Inconscient de ce qui l’attend, Philip dépose des cadeaux à un refuge pour sans-abris, un acte généreux qui fera plus tard de lui un suspect dans le meurtre d’un prostitué. Après la mort choquante de James, deux hommes entrent dans la vie de Philip… et tous deux conduisent une Continental jaune. L’un d’eux, toutefois, est un tueur avec le sang de six prostitués sur les mains. Et tous deux cachent quelque chose. Comme Philip est sur le point de le découvrir, aucune bonne action ne …

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  • Equality: What Do You Think about When You Think of Equality?

    In the tradition of Dr. Martin Luther King’s Stride Toward Freedom and Malala Yousafzai’s, I Am Malala, Equality: What Do You Think About When You Think of Equality? presents thought-provoking and compelling personal essays that probe a concept professed to be the very foundation of our democracy—a concept that may even be more vital today than in the past. From international bestselling author, Anne Perry who asserts we must look within ourselves to our emotions, experiences, and beliefs before we attempt an honest and truthful answer, to Dennis Palumbo, psychotherapist and author, who claims diagnostic labels used in treating mental illness often stigmatize and dehumanize the patient causing clinicians to view their patients in terms of their diagnosis rather than …

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  • No Good Deed

    On Christmas Eve in 1966, Philip Potter, a kind-hearted Smithsonian curator,  wraps up his last-minute shopping. Meanwhile, his lover of several years takes his own life back in their home. Unaware of what awaits him, Philip drops off gifts at a homeless shelter, an act of generosity that will later make him a suspect in the murder of a male prostitute. Following James’s shocking death, two men enter Philip’s life—and both drive yellow Continentals. One of them, though, is a killer, with the blood of at least six hustlers on his hands. And both are hiding something. As Philip is about to discover, no good deed goes unpunished. (Originally released by MLR Press in 2013 as After Christmas Eve)

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  • Whippersnapper

    Tellumo Magnamater is a fresh-out-of-college, first-year English teacher at Salt Lick County High School in Kentucky. He rides the bus to and from work, and every day he walks to the gym behind his small efficiency apartment to exercise. Perhaps because of being raised by two lesbians, Tellumo is attracted to older men. He sets his sights on fifty-something available bachelor Oliver Crumbly. But Tellumo isn’t the only resident interested in Oliver. Peggy Tucker, a widow approaching her sixtieth birthday, is determined to marry again, and she thinks Oliver is her perfect match. Despite Tellumo and Peggy striking up a friendship at the gym, neither realizes they are interested in the same man. But the joke might be on both of …

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  • Happy Independence Day

    Terrence Bottom wants to change the world. Little does he know the world is already changing, and his part in it won’t be what he expects. A prelaw student at Columbia University, Terrence’s interests range from opposing the draft and the war in Vietnam, to civil rights for gays, to anything to do with Cameron McKenzie, the rugged blond hanging around the Stonewall Inn. Too bad Cameron bolts whenever Terrence looks his way. College dropout Cameron McKenzie left tiny Paris, Kentucky with dreams of a career on Broadway. Although he claims to be straight, he prostitutes himself to survive. Now the Mafia is using him to entrap men for extortion schemes. He’s in over his head with no way out—at …

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  • The Bear King of Snowbird Mountain

    Recently single Jeremy Jenkins is an average guy working hard as a landscape designer in the mountains of Tennessee. At a conference in DC, he meets gorgeous Donald Matthews, who says the strangest things—like how he thinks Jeremy is hot and wants them to spend the rest of their lives together. This story is part of A Taste of Honey, a Dreamspinner Press Anthology. Other stories in the collection: The Bear Fetish, by John Amory The Bear Next Door, by Jack Byrne The Bear at the Bar, by J. Scott Coatsworth Barefoot, by Lillian Francis Just Breath, by John Genest Bear Chasing, by Renae Kaye Golden Bear, by G. P. Keith Hunting Bear: A Fairy Tale with a Very Hairy …

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  • Until Thanksgiving

    Josh Freeman knows his best days are behind him. After his partner of seventeen years has an affair with a younger man, Josh buries himself in takeout boxes, half-smoked joints, and self-pity until his best friend gently kicks him in the ass and encourages him to try out a new job in Washington DC—at least until Thanksgiving. Though DC has its share of troubles, specifically in the form of a murderer targeting gay men, Josh soon discovers its charms as well. Unlike his old home, DC is crawling with men who want to date him—apparently he’s not as overweight, out of shape, or over the hill as the man he once loved made him believe. In particular, Josh would love …

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The Crotchety Old Man

Jun 24, 2020
By Michael Rupured
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Mystery Tomato Identified

The wild and crazy Cherokee Purple tomato plant featured a couple of posts ago continues to grow much faster than my other tomatoes. The vines are twice as tall and extend beyond the top of the cage. The other three tomato plants don’t even come close. The giant plant is covered with clusters of fruit. Each little tomato is purple on top with a green bottom. Looks like I’m in for a bumper crop. I don’t recall ever seeing so many fruit on one plant. A visitor who works with local farmers thought the robust plant was a chocolate grape tomato. The name refers to the size and color of ripe fruit — not the flavor. I despise cherry tomatoes, …

Jun 22, 2020
By Michael Rupured
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Social Anxiety

After more than fifteen weeks at home, leaving my little sanctuary makes me nervous. COVID-19 continues to spread like wild fire. Mixing with others hardly seems worth the risk. Trips to the garden center are my only nonessential outings. I wear a mask, stick to outside areas, and go early enough to avoid long checkout lines. Growing things makes me happy. A haircut isn’t worth the risk. My plan to let my beard and hair grow for a potential appearance on Queer Eye didn’t work. Trimming my beard is easy enough, but the thought of cutting my hair scared me. Previous attempts always required an emergency visit to the barbershop. Desperate times call for desperate measures. I finally used my …

Jun 19, 2020
By Michael Rupured
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This Week in the Garden

Today is the last full day of spring. Thanks to mild weather and abundant rain, new arrivals to the garden are well-established and off to a good start. So far, so good. Eye-catching color combos fill the back border this year. Whether “eye-catching” is a good or bad thing depends on your point of view. Grouping varieties together for larger color blocks seems to make vibrant clashes work. Above, magenta Wave petunias, electric-orange sun-patiens, and several varieties of coleus are grouped together. The broad-leaved seedlings in the picture above are zinnias. I planted seed for those between the sun-patiens and coleus. The rest are volunteers from last year’s zinnias. Controlling color is next to impossible with annuals. The bottom-most New …

Jun 10, 2020
By Michael Rupured
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This Week in the Garden: Tomatoes

Real estate is limited in my little garden. Location is everything. Demand is high for a limited supply of desirable spots. It doesn’t happen often, but plants that fail to meet expectations get evicted. Plant selection reduces evictions. Different plants have specific needs and tolerances for temperature, water, light, and soil chemistry. Selecting an appropriate plant for the spot often involves some trial and error. Labels help, but don’t always include everything you need to know. Few things taste better than a vine-ripened home-grown tomato. Growing them has been a challenge for me here in Georgia. My mouth waters and my eyes tear up when I think about the grocery bags of surplus tomatoes I gave away every summer back …

Jun 06, 2020
By Michael Rupured
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Working from Home

I’m a homebody. Even before COVID-19 restrictions, I rarely left the house other than for work, errands, or doctor appointments. Social distancing hasn’t changed my world all that much. Vision issues have limited my travel for years. The odometer in my 2015 VW has yet to hit 25,000 miles. Going to unfamiliar locations or anywhere at night means finding a ride. Toodles keeps me home too. I can’t see to check her sugar, so managing her diabetes is more art than science. Her behavior is my guide. Disrupting her routine is asking for trouble. Were I to leave her with anyone, I’d worry too much to enjoy the trip . My last overnight trip was more than two years ago. …

May 31, 2020
By Michael Rupured
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This Week in the Garden

Staying home for the past few months has meant more time in the garden. Compared to previous years, I got off to a late start. Took a while to work up the nerve to hit garden centers. Fortunately, mild temperatures and plenty of rain extended the planting season. Planting in the root zone of a tree is asking for trouble, but the space begs for something. I tried a few things last year, and was stunned when they returned this spring. A mix of dianthus, petunias and impatiens are doing well so far. I cut several struggling boxwoods to the ground to make room for annuals until I make up my mind about permanent replacements. You can barely make out …

May 29, 2020
By Michael Rupured
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Dumped!

My retina specialist told me to find another doctor. That’s right. I’ve been fired as a patient. In truth, she didn’t tell me — she had someone else do her dirty work. Whatever. My regular eye doctor referred me to the clinic more than ten years ago. The retina specialist for most of that time retired a few years ago. After a year on the job, his replacement left for greener pastures. I’ve been seeing the new replacement for the past year or so. My condition — Advanced Macular Degeneration — can’t be cured. Treatment involves eye injections of either Avastin, Lucentis, Eylea, or Beovu. I’m legally blind in my right eye — they stopped treating it in 2015. I …

May 20, 2020
By Michael Rupured
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Stressed

My eleventh straight week at home is wrapping up. The first week I took off from work. Then the coronavirus hit the scene. I’ve been home pretty much ever since. I’m lucky and grateful. I still have a job, a regular paycheck, and everything I need. There’s no homeschooling at my house nor any children to entertain. Nobody I know is sick, incarcerated, or in a nursing home. Despite my good fortune, I’m anxious, stressed and more than a little overwhelmed. The increasing divide between science and politics doesn’t help. Ignorance, misinformation, and stupidity make things worse. The federal government is in shambles. Institutions I’ve trusted and relied on my entire life are under attack. Watch dogs and whistle blowers …

May 19, 2020
By Michael Rupured
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Technical Issues

Technology surpassed my understanding years ago. I’ve been spoiled. At work, a tech support staff sets things up and fixes any problems. At home, Andy did the same thing. Since he died two years ago, I’ve been on my own for tech support — and it ain’t pretty. A box in my living room has been blinking for months. I believe it has something to do with my Wi-Fi. There is no on/off switch. Unplugging it overnight didn’t resolve the issue. Everything seems to work so I haven’t worried about it. The living room TV has three HDMI ports. Cable comes through one. A Roku device is connected to another. I have no idea how, but a slideshow of Andy’s …

May 08, 2020
By Michael Rupured
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My Impulsive Garden

I’m an impulse gardener. Browsing catalogs and garden centers for additions that catch my eye makes me happy. Planning doesn’t suit my style and never works for me anyway. Limiting myself to annuals simplifies things and gives me the chance to start over with new plants every year. Skipping fall planting to improve the soil left all my planting beds barren. The surprise reappearance in late January of two varieties (cyclamen and primula) prompted an outing in search of companions. I’d mostly filled up the flower bed they’re in before COVD-19 brought everything to a screeching halt. Undeterred by a little pandemic, I immediately went online in search of tomatoes, peppers, and bedding plants. Shipping veggie plants to Georgia is …

May 01, 2020
By Michael Rupured
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My Online Learning Experience

The semester I’ll never forget is just about over. Switching from the classroom to the Internet during a two-week hiatus after spring break was a daunting challenge. Except for maybe graduating seniors, students and faculty alike are happy to see the semester end. Teaching online isn’t all bad. I see the potential. How to make it work is the challenge — especially for crotchety old men like me. A greater command of technology would help. I can do what I need to do, barely. Call me incurious, but exploring the capabilities of devices, software, or apps never crosses my mind. The switch to online teaching forced my hand. I’d used our online interface to post lectures, collect assignments, record grades, …

Apr 26, 2020
By Michael Rupured
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What I’m Watching

Even before the COVID-19 outbreak, when awake, my television is on pretty much all day. Mostly it’s on HGTV or Food Network for background noise. Serious television-watching is reserved for the evening hours. Netflix and cable are my only options. DVR is essential. Watching network TV without fast-forward is torture. Finding something to watch has never been a problem so I haven’t subscribed to additional streaming services. If you’ve run out of stuff to watch, here are several I enjoy. I was telling friends to watch Tiger King (Netflix) weeks before it hit the news. The title character is one-of-a-kind, but the entire cast is bonkers. Think crazy cat ladies with guns without regard to age, gender, or sexual preference. …

Apr 19, 2020
By Michael Rupured
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Garden Update

Few things tickle may fancy more than impulse-shopping at garden centers every spring and fall. I hit several over spring break this year, but it was too early for the kinds of things I want. Staying at home has me chomping at the bit to fill my empty flower beds. Before the pandemic, I picked up a few things for a flower bed outside my front door. The petunias and dianthus I planted have settled in now and look lovely. Begonias planted in the same spot last year are coming back. The big yard at my old house had plenty of room for new additions. Running out of room in the tiny yard I have now is my greatest fear. …

Apr 10, 2020
By Michael Rupured
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Creeping Toward the Apex

I don’t know about you, but I’ve lost all track of time. Not the date, day, and hour — they’re readily available on various devices. Distinguishing one day from the next is the challenge. Since March 7, I’ve lived in my own little world. My car hasn’t left the garage more than six times. Toodles and I go for short walks two or three times a day, and I’m trying to run three miles three or four times a week. I’m not — twice a week is more like it — but I’m trying. Work keeps me busy. On top of additional demands related to the crisis, everything takes longer. Email exchanges over several hours or days have replaced the …

Apr 04, 2020
By Michael Rupured
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Teaching to the Grid

The two-week suspension of instruction to enable faculty to transition to online teaching ended a week ago Friday. Students returned to class Monday. My first class was Tuesday. It didn’t go well. For starters, students couldn’t hear me. I have to lean in close to see anything on my laptop. Students watched a closeup of my forehead as I frantically scrambled through settings trying to figure out what the hell was wrong. Students tried to help without success. One day, I’ll laugh about it. Ended up dialing in. Had to use my phone to talk and my laptop for everything else. Didn’t help that my first online lecture was new to me from slides used by a guest speaker last …