BLOG TOUR:★★ WHIPPERSNAPPER BY MICHAEL RUPURED★★ with Exclusive #Excerpt and a #Giveaway for $25 Amazon gift card
AUTHOR: Michael Rupured
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Maria Fanning
LENGTH: 220 Pages
RELEASE DATE: January 29, 2016
BLURB: 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 them. Oliver, a retired history teacher, is the original crotchety old man who hates everything and everybody—especially young people.
“Still struggling to keep your head above water at work?”
He shook his head. “The break gave me a chance to work ahead. I’m much more prepared for the second half of the year.” He’d started the school year behind and had never caught up. Except for the occasional grocery run and daily trips to the gym to preserve his sanity, Tellumo had needed every waking moment for grading papers, preparing lesson plans, and otherwise tending to his teaching responsibilities. “Getting home should be easier this term.”
“Good.” She patted his leg. “Not seeing you since we dropped you off in August was hard, but we knew you’d be home for Christmas.” Trish shrugged. “The first without you was rough—especially since we’d been expecting to see you.”
“I really wanted to come home. Snowmageddon messed with everyone’s holiday plans.”
“Yell when you’re ready. Taking a break from work is rarely a problem, and we like getting out of the city, so driving down to visit or pick you up isn’t a problem.” She squeezed his shoulder and pecked him on the cheek. “Jules thinks you’d be better off with a car and is mad because I won’t take her side.” She ruffled his hair and kissed his forehead. “You’re a grown man—I trust you to make your own decisions.”
“I do too.” Jules stood in the doorway with a shopping bag in each hand. “And I’m not mad at anyone, I just think Tellumo’s life would be a lot easier with a car.”
“What about my carbon footprint?” Tellumo smiled. Keeping up with the causes his mothers supported was a full-time job, made only a little easier by the array of bumper stickers covering their van. “The shopping center behind my apartment has everything I need, and the bus gets me back and forth to work or anyplace else in town I need to go.”
“You could still walk or take the bus,” Jules said, dropping the bags in the kitchen. “A car would give you the freedom to take weekend road trips.”
“Like to Cincinnati?” Tellumo had been ready for a change of scenery. Fallisville was close—about an hour from Cincinnati by car—and the principal of his school, Mr. Wyrick, hadn’t lied. Teaching at Salt Lick County High was the job of his dreams.
“Melody misses you and sends her love,” Trish said. “We almost invited her to come with us, but your place is so small.” She glanced around his apartment. His double bed was visible behind the overstuffed sofa that divided the space into living and sleeping areas. “I was afraid one more might be one too many.”
“Mel and I video chat a couple of times a week.” Tellumo smiled. Trish and Jules had been disappointed he hadn’t sprung for a larger apartment, with room for overnight guests.
On the other side of a counter with two stools where he ate his meals and graded papers, Jules unpacked the bags she’d carried in from the car. “What needs to go in the refrigerator and what goes in the oven?”
Trish rose from the sofa and joined her partner in the kitchen. “When do you guys want to eat?”
“It’s almost noon now,” Tellumo said. “Is one o’clock too soon?”
“Yeah—the tofurkey needs to bake for seventy-five minutes,” Trish said, turning on the oven. “Will you starve before one thirty?”
He shook his head. “I think I’ll live. Anything I can do to help?”
Jules folded the empty bags and placed them on top of the refrigerator. “Wait.” She looked at Trish. “Seems like we’re missing something.”
Trish furrowed her brow and examined the items spread out on the counter before her. “Gluten-free rolls, edamame, quinoa stuffing….” She scanned the foil packets and plastic containers before turning to Jules. “No, looks like everything is here.”
They looked at each other and then at Tellumo.
He folded his arms across his chest and shook his head. “I can’t believe you’re making me do this again. I’m twenty-three years old!”
“Humor me,” Jules said. “See if I left anything in the van, will you?”
“If you insist.” He took her keys and headed for the vehicle. At five, he’d stumbled upon a cache of not-yet-wrapped gifts intended for him for the upcoming winter solstice. Ever since, his mothers had found hiding places away from the two-bedroom townhome he’d called home from the day he’d arrived from the hospital to August of last year. They’d act like they’d forgotten about buying presents and then send him on a random errand, leading him to discover what they’d bought for him.
A pair of beautifully wrapped, oversized shirt boxes sat in the back seat. The nearest, obviously from Jules, sported thin black stripes against a shiny silver background, topped with a silver bowtie. Trish’s featured a brightly colored tie-dye pattern beneath a riotous mass of thin, loosely curled ribbon in a rainbow of cheerful colors. He placed one under each arm and returned to his apartment.
“Well what do you know?” Jules beamed. “Go ahead—open them.”
“Wait,” Tellumo said. “If we’re opening presents now….” He dropped the boxes on the coffee table, retrieved his gifts from the walk-in closet, and handed one to each of them. “You aren’t the easiest people in the world to buy for, you know.”
Jules ripped hers open and gasped. “A Gladys Bentley CD? Where on earth did you find it?”
Tellumo smiled. “I put it together with everything I could find about her on the Internet—including a couple of videos of her performing.”
“Very cool!” She hugged him.
Trish held up the book he’d given her. “A first edition of All Passion Spent, signed by Vita Sackville-West.” She looked at Tellumo. “How…?”
“Great deal on eBay,” he lied. No point telling her Eduardo Clemente—an older man he’d gone out with a couple of times—had given the book to Tellumo after he’d mentioned her fascination with the author.
“Your turn,” Trish said.
Tellumo opened the silver-and-black box first. Inside, he found a short-cut gray corduroy blazer with black patches on the elbows. In the other box was the same blazer, only in camel with brown patches.
“We couldn’t make up our mind, so we got both.” Jules furrowed her brow. “You
like them, don’t you?”
Tellumo shook his head. “Nope.” Their faces fell, but before they could say anything, he added, “I love them!” He slid into the gray coat and twirled around. “Now I feel like a real teacher.”
Michael Rupured loves to write. Before learning the alphabet, he filled page after page with rows of tiny circles he now believes were his first novels, and has been writing ever since. He lives in Athens, Georgia, grew up in Lexington, Kentucky, came out as a gay man at the age of twenty-one in the late 1970s, and considers surviving his wild and reckless twenties to have been a miracle. To find out what Michael’s up to now, visit his blog (rupured.com), follow him on Twitter (@crotchetyman) or send an e-mail message to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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