• 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

Apr 14, 2021
By Michael Rupured
Comments Off on Just Add Water

Just Add Water

When I was young, Dad built a fountain with brick, ceramic tile, a recirculating pump, and a concrete mermaid. He bored a hole in the bottom of the statue for water to flow into the pond below. Unable to make the turn to reach her mouth, water gushed from the seated mermaid’s crotch. Despite the glitch, the fountain provided years of enjoyment. Several goldfish thrived until the above-ground pool froze solid. After it thawed, we were amazed to find them alive and well instead of floating belly-up. Inspired by friends who’d created a beautiful waterfall for next to nothing, my first water feature was made with rocks picked up from the side of Central Kentucky roads and a waterbed mattress. …

Apr 05, 2021
By Michael Rupured
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Evolution of My Backyard

The realtor for my first house said I bought the yard and took whatever house went with it. That’s not entirely true, but garden potential has always been a big factor. An ugly lot with no potential is a deal-breaker. I loved my current home as soon as I walked in the door. The privacy fence around the backyard sealed the deal. Sun all morning and shade all afternoon make the patio pleasant for most of the day. The landscaping when I moved in, however, left a lot to be desired. I’ve mostly tinkered around the edges to make mowing easier. The lawn needs to be mowed once or twice a week for nine months or more here. Replacing hard-to-mow …

Mar 29, 2021
By Michael Rupured
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No More Waiting

Six months ago, I decided to do some remodeling around the house. I thought everything would be done by the end of December. Shows how much I know. Barring (another) unforeseen delay, the last project will be completed this week. In my defense, work didn’t start until the first week of January. The list of projects expanded too — a lot. One thing led to another until, three months later, Chez Rupured has been transformed. The initial plan was to upgrade the master shower and replace carpet in the bedrooms. Once I got started, I couldn’t stop. Along with new carpet, I ended up renovating the entire bathroom, painting every room, replacing old furniture, and fixing drainage issues in the …

Mar 08, 2021
By Michael Rupured
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Practically Perfect

The home renovation and remodeling projects I’ve been talking about since September are drawing to a close. The bathroom is done, the entire interior has been freshly painted, and the bedrooms have new carpet. I couldn’t be happier with the results. Everything in the house had to be moved — twice. Putting things back was an opportunity to purge and reorganize. Rejects that fit in my car went to the Goodwill store in one of many trips over the past two months. Everything too big for my car vanished soon after being placed by the curb. I’m very proud of the neat and well-organized closet. I hate to brag, but have practically perfect closets is rare. We’ll see how long …

Feb 25, 2021
By Michael Rupured
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Late-winter Veggies

My second attempt at a winter vegetable garden has been more successful than the first. I can’t really take credit. Success came down to an unusually wet and cool September followed by months with only light freezes. The bar is admittedly low. Merely surviving the winter is a success. Months of root growth will pay off later for annual flowers. Any harvest is icing on the cake. My approach to growing vegetables is more than a little random. I don’t have room for a full-on vegetable garden and don’t want more than I can eat or easily give away. Mixing produce in with flowers works for me. Spinach is my biggest success so far. Freshly-picked leaves have been turning up …

Feb 22, 2021
By Michael Rupured
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Crotchety Alert!

An ugly confluence of events has brought my inner crotchety out of hiding. Spring fever, pandemic fatigue, and renovation delays have had me on the brink. Disruptions to my nap routine pushed me over the edge. This time of year is always rough. Solar energy fuels my usually sunny disposition. Cold, dreary days suck the life out of me. Moving south for shorter, milder winters has eased but not ended my suffering. I know. Pitiful. They don’t call it SAD for nothing. Staying home for the past year hasn’t been too bad, but COVID-19 safeguards are getting to me. I may not have ventured out much before the pandemic, but I could. I guess I still can, but I’d rather …

Feb 16, 2021
By Michael Rupured
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Napping

Sleeping in didn’t make my list of retirement activities. Years ago, my internal clock eliminated the need for an alarm. Come five o’clock, I’m up. Getting up so early makes napping a necessity. Toodles is partially to blame for the early hour. She gets her insulin injection every twelve hours. We could do it just about any time, but first thing in the morning suits us. She no longer minds the injections and lets me know it’s time for the afternoon dose should I run late. Getting up at the last possible second used to be the norm. Before coffee was an essential part of my morning routine, I could be showered, dressed, blow-dried, styled, and on my way in …

Feb 11, 2021
By Michael Rupured
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Coming Soon: Drainage!

The company doing my bathroom renovation is more about solving moisture and mold issues than remodeling. I asked the project manager about drainage issues in my yard. His company doesn’t do that kind of work, but he knew someone who did. A downspout from my next door neighbor’s house runs into a plastic pipe buried in the ground. Where it empties is a mystery, but I suspect the dry streambed was put in to channel the water away. During heavy rains, the water flows enough for kayaking. My downspouts empty into the yard. Rather than flowing into the streambed, ponds spring up all over the place. The ground stays sloppy wet for days after a big rain. I figure the …

Feb 08, 2021
By Michael Rupured
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Antsy

Patience is not among my strengths. Never has been. Waiting for my COVID-19 vaccination, completion of the renovation, and the end of cold weather has me a bit antsy. Throughout my childhood and well into my teens, I didn’t sleep a wink on Christmas Eve. Anticipation built for weeks. By December 24th, sleep was impossible. Christmas is date certain. Come hail or high water, it’s December 25th. Knowing the date made counting down possible, and that made waiting easier. Kind of. I’m waiting for open-ended stuff. Work on the house is on track to finish by the end of the month — probably. I’ve registered for the vaccine, but have no idea when my number will come up. I’m not …

Feb 04, 2021
By Michael Rupured
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Gardening

Surprise! Gardening made my list of retirement activities. Like nobody saw that coming. Few things make me happier than puttering around in the garden. Starting a flat of seed, turning over ground for a new flower bed, or setting out plants provide instant gratification. The rewards keep coming too — for weeks, months and even years. I’m growing mostly annuals for now. They’re easy, colorful, bloom for months, and I can change things up every year. They’re also high maintenance. I don’t care. I’m retired. Permanent plantings would be more cost effective, but I can’t decide what I want. Even if I could commit, drainage issues need to be resolved first. After a big rain, my lawn resembles a rice …

Feb 01, 2021
By Michael Rupured
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Happy Groundhog Day!

February 2nd has long been my favorite day of the year. Call me skeptical, but I couldn’t care less about some groundhog. Shadow or not, the possibility of spring weather being just six weeks away lifts my spirits. Cold weather and I fell out in college. The rift started in high school. Snow was fun — until I got my driver’s license. Resentment simmered for years, boiling over every time I had to walk to class in sub-zero temperatures, blinding snow, or bone-chilling wind. Gardening pushed me over the edge. Freezing temperatures became the enemy. I wished for the end of winter with more urgency. Even in Kentucky, where cold weather persists into May, I never stopped hoping for an …

Jan 28, 2021
By Michael Rupured

Purging

Although I live alone in a 1200 square-foot house, storage is an issue. There’s plenty of space, filled with stuff I rarely or never use. That’s why a massive purge made my list of retirement plans. The remodeling projects somewhat forced my hand. Between painting every room and replacing all the carpet, I have to move everything anyway. No point putting stuff back I no longer want or need. Doing the whole house is the only way to go. Reorganizing one space tends to spill over to another. Managing the spread is the challenge. To move out of the master bath for the renovation, I first had to clear everything out of a hall closet and the tiny, rarely used …

Jan 25, 2021
By Michael Rupured
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Remodeling

Fixing up the house made my list of retirement activities. As I have no desire to move again, this is my forever home. A year of social isolation and way too much HGTV have inspired a desire to make better use of the space and how it works for me. I spend the majority of my waking hours in my recliner or at the coffee table on the footstool Toodles uses to jump onto the couch. The coffee table is my desk, dining area, and financial center. The dining room is home to my orchids and seed-starting operation. I use the office as a walk-in closet. Phase 1 (in process) is to renovate the master bath. Deciding to go from …

Jan 21, 2021
By Michael Rupured
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Mid-January in the Garden

Winter in Athens has been fairly mild so far. We’ve had frost on windshields many mornings, but only one when the mercury dropped below 25. I covered what I could and crossed my fingers. Everything survived — including plants I was not able to cover. Aside from scattered blossoms, annual flowers have hunkered down and are focused on root development. Dense crowns have replaced scraggly stems. We’re not out of the woods yet, but more roots increase the likelihood of surviving a hard freeze. The veggies are doing great. I’ve been cutting spinach leaves for omelets, salads, and stir-fries. Heads have formed on the broccoli, and little beets and turnips are visible beneath the foliage. Peas and Brussels sprouts look …

Jan 18, 2021
By Michael Rupured
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Blogging

Keeping my blog going is #2 on my list of retirement activities. Why keep blogging? Good question. My best answer is more excuse than justification. I enjoy writing. Blogging feels more constructive than journaling and is a lot easier than knocking out another novel. This blog and my reasons for keeping it have often changed. Initially, the Crotchety Old Man bitched about things that pissed me off. When my anger issues proved insufficient to keep it going, I expanded to other topics. I wrote a memoir (including many blog posts), joined a writing group, and penned my first novel. I confess to believing my contract and advance were equivalent to winning the lottery. Millions of fans would flock to my …