• 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

Sep 30, 2021
By Michael Rupured
Comments Off on Nine Months Later…

Nine Months Later…

The end of September marks nine months of retirement. My new lifestyle is nothing like I expected. No surprise. Things rarely turn out as expected. I ain’t gonna lie. Not working agrees with me. Taking care of the homestead, Toodles, and myself are my only obligations. Aside from the occasional medical appointment, my schedule is wide open. Friends who have retired say they don’t see how they had time to work. I always thought they were joking. Nope. It’s true. I feel the same way. Why so busy? Good question. My hours haven’t changed. My biological clock is permanently set to get up at 5:00 a.m. and go to bed by 10. What do I do during my former work …

Aug 16, 2021
By Michael Rupured
Comments Off on Slow as Molasses

Slow as Molasses

I haven’t set foot in the gym since before the pandemic. Plantar fasciitis forced me to stop running last November. After months of foot exercises and tons of ibuprofen, I decided to try running again in April. The initial goal was three miles, every other day. After several pain-free weeks, I started walking four miles on days I didn’t run. That morphed into a daily four-mile walk/run at a pace faster than 15 minutes per mile. MapMyRun keeps me on track with announcements at the end of each mile about my total time, average time per mile, and time for the last mile. I’m a Goldilocks runner. If it’s too hot (above 80ish) or too cold (below 55ish), I’m staying …

Jun 27, 2021
By Michael Rupured
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Wall o’ Maters

My track record for growing tomatoes is decidedly mixed. Back in Kentucky years ago, a handful of plants routinely yielded tomatoes for me, my family, neighbors and coworkers. Since moving to Georgia, ripe tomatoes have been few and far between. The 2021 crop is shaping up to be an exception. This year’s plants are the healthiest and most robust I’ve ever seen. The cause is hard to determine with any certainty. Too many factors have changed since last year to point to any one in particular. Success this year is likely due to a combination of changes. The spot where the tomatoes are growing was home to a big magnolia last year. The “virgin” soil makes a difference. Growing tomatoes …

Jun 06, 2021
By Michael Rupured

My Plant Babies

Growing flowers and vegetables from seed this year has been largely successful. Nearly everything came up and, along with garden center acquisitions, found a home in the garden. I love them all, but my home-grown babies hold a special place in my heart. Sweet alyssum was the first of my plant babies to bloom and perhaps the easiest to start. They sprout within a few days, start to bloom in a matter of weeks, and keep producing masses of honey-scented flowers for months. Volunteer seedlings are likely next year and, unlike some self-seeders, are easily managed. Marigolds were next to bloom. I started two varieties: ‘Strawberry Blonde’ and ‘Elevate’. The latter is extra-tall at maturity (30 to 40 inches) with …

May 27, 2021
By Michael Rupured
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Running Man

I’m not one for regrets. For better or worse, my life is the product of the choices I’ve made. What if’ing different choices is a waste of time. What’s done is done. Celebrate the good, learn from the bad, and move on. That said, I wish my early experiences with running had been more positive. My aversion started in grade school. When I tried to run, severe side cramps forced me to stop. I vividly recall my shame for being unable to finish a mile run in Phys Ed class. Trying too hard was the problem. For some reason, I thought all-out was the only option. I got a wild hair in my early 20s during a downpour one summer …

May 10, 2021
By Michael Rupured
Comments Off on Retirement Bliss

Retirement Bliss

The first four months of my retirement were crazy busy. Remodeling projects kicked off the first week of January and continued well into April. I’m happy with the results and thrilled to have the near-constant disruption behind me. Having to work would have complicated things. Telecommuting would have been a challenge with all the noise and I had no desire to go anywhere. Call me weird, but I want to be home when strangers are in my house. Had I been working, Toodles would have been an issue. I stopped kenneling her when her diabetes was diagnosed and have never confined her to one room. Mostly, she sat with me. Once in a while, she wandered back to check things …

Apr 27, 2021
By Michael Rupured
Comments Off on Plant Factory Update

Plant Factory Update

The little seed-starting operation I set up in January has been a success. I’ve grown hundreds of flower and vegetable plants from seed and counting. The exact number or even a good estimate is unknown — I’ll keep better records next year. At least a few plants came up of everything I planted. Varieties include black-eyed Susan, Canterbury bells, foxglove, delphinium, calendula (pot marigold), sweet allysum, petunias, marigolds (2 varieties), zinnias (2 varieties), tithonia (Mexican sunflower), love-lies-bleeding, bell peppers, heirloom tomatoes, and a ton of lettuce (3 varieties). ‘Dragon Wing’ begonias were the exception. The microscopic seed are slow to germinate. Algae covered the seed-starting mix before they had time to sprout. I’ve had the same issue with petunias. A …

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
Comments Off on Practically Perfect

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 …