• 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.

    Read More
  • 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 …

    Read More
  • 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 …

    Read More
  • 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)

    Read More
  • 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 …

    Read More
  • 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 …

    Read More
  • 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 …

    Read More
  • 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 …

    Read More

The Crotchety Old Man

Aug 01, 2019
By Michael Rupured
Comments Off on Climate Change & My Garden

Climate Change & My Garden

More than thirty days with little rain and highs above 90 degrees have taken a toll on my little garden. After much deliberation, debate, and a water bill three times the usual amount, I decided to withhold life support. Since pulling the plug, we’ve had some rain — not much, but enough to keep things alive a little longer. How long remains to be seen. Hot, dry conditions will likely persist into October. Keeping my summer garden alive is not a new struggle. Heat, drought, and an abundance of deer have long conspired against me. Though I grow tomatoes every year, ripe fruit are nearly as rare as snow in summer. By comparison, my first winter garden was a nearly …

Jul 16, 2019
By Michael Rupured
Comments Off on Backsliding

Backsliding

Eleven years ago, I got a wake up call about my health. The message: change my habits or die. I joined Weight Watchers, started exercising, and vowed to change my lifestyle. I counted WW points, hired a personal trainer, and started running. In time, I managed to lose nearly fifty pounds — enough to drop from “obese” to “overweight” on the Body Mass Index scale. My doctor took me off several medications. I felt great and had never been in better shape. Proper nutrition was the first casualty. Snacks between meals and before I go to bed are the problem. My ice cream addiction is serious. Donuts continue to be a problem, and don’t get me started on baked goods …

Jul 03, 2019
By Michael Rupured
Comments Off on LGBTQ History: Missing Pieces?

LGBTQ History: Missing Pieces?

June 2019 was the best LGBTQ Pride Month ever. The level of media coverage was unprecedented, and several excellent shows were aired. All in all, I was blown away and thrilled for our history to be so widely shared. Coming out in 1979 sparked a life-long interest in gay history. I realized while doing the research for No Good Deed and Happy Independence Day that the history I’d gleaned from magazines, books, and the grapevine was more than a little incomplete. Documentaries aired during Pride Month filled in even more blanks. The Lavender Scare (PBS) is an excellent overview of gay history in the United States. Homosexuals have been around forever, but didn’t emerge as a social group until early …

Jun 27, 2019
By Michael Rupured
Comments Off on Staycationing

Staycationing

I’m fortunate to have a job with paid sick leave and vacation days. We can accumulate unlimited sick leave, but vacation time has to be used within a given period. Some coworkers lose days every year. Not me. Forfeiting paid days off is against my religion. Nobody does my job when I’m out, so long breaks often make me sorry I took off. Using vacation days throughout the year around weekends and holidays works better. Teaching duties limited my ability to take off as much as usual, resulting in vacation days I need to use. Campus is practically deserted this time of year. The last week of June and the first week of July are a good time to take …

Jun 20, 2019
By Michael Rupured
Comments Off on The Birth of Gay Liberation

The Birth of Gay Liberation

In 1969, a group of New York’s most disenfranchised citizens fought with police during a late June raid of the Stonewall Inn. John Lindsay was mayor and running for reelection. The raid was part of his campaign to clean up the city. State regulations in New York prohibited the sale of alcoholic beverages to homosexuals. Any establishment that did was deemed a disorderly house and lost its liquor license. Gay establishments all over New York had stopped serving alcohol or closed. On paper, the Stonewall Inn was a private bottle club. In practice, it was a sleazy bar, owned and operated by the Mafia. Watered-down drinks were expensive and, due to a lack of running water behind the bar, the …

Jun 05, 2019
By Michael Rupured
Comments Off on No More Garage Sales

No More Garage Sales

Late last year, I set a goal to have a garage sale in April or May — before it got too hot. Setting the goal lit a fire under my butt to finish organizing closets, cabinets, and drawers, but the garage sale ain’t happening. In fact, I may never have another garage sale again. I do a mean garage sale. Lots of signs and ads attract a big crowd. It’s not about getting the best price or what things are worth. The value to me is zero or it wouldn’t be there. Getting rid of stuff is the objective. Any proceeds are icing on the cake. “Keep, sell, donate or toss” was my mantra as I slowly worked my way …

May 30, 2019
By Michael Rupured

Time on My Hands

Teaching has kept me busy since before Andy passed last year. I’ve grieved plenty, but drowning in sorrow wasn’t an option. Between teaching, my regular day job duties, and taking care of myself and Toodles, I’ve had too much to do. I’m grateful, and not just for the distraction. Teaching a basic consumer course, while all-consuming, is incredibly gratifying. Many students say the class should be required. I bring my own flavor, of course, but the feedback is the same, no matter who the instructor is. No more working nights and weekends to stay on top of my class. School’s out until the middle of August. Having taught the class twice, I’m mostly ready — far more so than the …

May 17, 2019
By Michael Rupured
Comments Off on Summer Vacation

Summer Vacation

Every year I complain about summer coming to an end too quickly. Teaching highlighted the cause of my angst. Relying on the solstice was the problem. Summer starts when the spring semester ends. Before I started teaching, my involvement with students has been limited to the occasional guest lecture. Whether classes were in session or not, my job was the same. Other than days the university closed for business, the academic calendar had no impact on my life. Preparing to teach a real class for the first time since graduate school more than thirty years ago kept me busy last summer. After classes started, teaching my one little class was like running a marathon. The pace was grueling. Toward the …

Apr 01, 2019
By Michael Rupured
Comments Off on My Journalig Habit

My Journalig Habit

Journaling satisfies my compulsion to write and keeps me sane. The first of 24 volumes dates back to 1979. It’s not exhaustive — I’ve sometimes gone weeks and even months without adding a word. Since Andy died, I’ve been writing at least two or three times a week. I’m not trying to document my life for posterity. Leaving behind a record for whoever might be interested is not the point. In fact, finding a way to make every volume vanish when I die (Mission Impossible style) tops my bucket list. Over the years, preferences have evolved into idiosyncracies. The journals themselves have to be the right size. Lined pages are required. The last ten or so volumes had black leather …

Mar 25, 2019
By Michael Rupured

I Love Annual Flowers

Fear of commitment has kept me from planting anything permanent in my garden. I have too many favorites and too little space. Before this year’s winter garden, nothing planted in the past seven years was suppoed to survive a hard freeze. Sticking to tender plants means starting over every year. Mostly. Some selections turned out to be hardier than expected. A few varieties return from seed every year too. Everything else is a carefully selected impulse purhcases from nearby garden centers made over several months early in the season. This time of year, I pop in every few days in search of new additions. Stock at popular garden centers turns over fast. I picked up some gorgeous red cyclamens a …

Mar 18, 2019
By Michael Rupured
Comments Off on A Sad Anniversary

A Sad Anniversary

Hard to believe a year has passed since we lost Andy. My ex, the best friend I ever had, and the love of my life died a year ago today. Adjusting to a world without him has been quite a challenge. To know Andy was to love him. He was kind, generous, thoughtful, and always considerate of others. The students, faculty, and staff he worked with in our college adored him. Being the partner of such a nice guy boosted my image around the college. He was the center of my universe for seventeen years (18 now). Since his death, I’ve thought and thought about our time together — the good, the bad, and the ugly. Could I have done …

Mar 11, 2019
By Michael Rupured
Comments Off on Countdown to Retirement

Countdown to Retirement

Last week I celebrated my 61st birthday. Had to call 9-1-1 after my house filled up with smoke. Birthday candles were not involved. Somehow, I accidnetally closed thechimney flue when adding another log to the fire. Fortunately, the only damage was the lingering smell of smoke. Next year, retirement becomes an option. Barely. I’ll be 62 — old enough to collect Social Security. The longer I work, of course, the bigger that check will be. Social Security won’t be my only source of income. I’ll also get a small pension from a former employer. Most of my retirement income, however, will come from tax-deferred accounts. As long as I keep working, me and my employer will continue to contribute to …

Mar 04, 2019
By Michael Rupured
Comments Off on Spam-tastic?

Spam-tastic?

Cooking for one without dying of boredom is a challenge. I get tired of fixing the same old stuff — a universal problem for anyone who cooks much. I’m always on the lookout for new things to try. Last week, I picked up a can of Spam. Not just any Spam, mind you. This was pepper Spam. Fancy. A dim memory of fried Spam on white bread slathered with mayo sparked my decision to drop Pepper Spam into my cart. I mentioned the purchase to mother, who retched a bit and then declared she’d hated Span since childhood. No way she ever fixed it for us. I must be thinking of the fried bologna sandwiches she fixed from time to …

Feb 19, 2019
By Michael Rupured
Comments Off on Winter Garden Update

Winter Garden Update

Mild weather has been the norm in Athens this winter. My garden experiment has turned out better than expected. We’ve had a few cold spells with below-freezing temperatures, but the polar vortex stayed well north of here. The coldest weather is behind us. Lows two or three degrees below freezing won’t hurt anything I planted. Locating the garden between a heat-retaining dry-streambed and the shelter of an eight-foot privacy fence offered aditional protection. I was prepared for colder temps, but never had to cover things up. A winter harvest was unlikely. Cool season crops need to be in the ground in August or September when it’s too hot here for the plants to survive. Planting before late October is a …

Feb 18, 2019
By Michael Rupured
Comments Off on Accidental Orchids

Accidental Orchids

About this time last year, I decided to reclaim my kitchen table, home to the orchid collection I’ve nurtured since 2012. None of my orchids showed any sign of blooming. Some haven’t bloomed for years. Several didn’t look very healthy, and a couple appeared to have crossed to the other side. I wanted to throw the entire collection in the trash. They’d lived longer and bloomed more than I ever expected. Time to move on. I couldn’t do it. Except for a couple too far gone to rescue, I put them outside under a magnolia tree and more or less forgot about them. Thanks to the wettest summer on record here in Athens and contrary to my expectations, they survived. …