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Luck of An Only Elgon (Well, I Am Part Irish)

Later this week we will be running a special promotion for FRIED WINDOWS for $2.99 in eBook. It is already discount priced on Pandamoon Publishing’s Facebook Store at $9.99 ($3 off). https://www.facebook.com/pandamoonpublishing My publisher and I are doing the promotion on Saturday 3/17/18, St. Patrick’s Day, along with a giveaway for a signed copy. To enter follow me on Twitter @ElgonWilliams or follow me at https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B001K8TYXU

Why that date? Funny you should ask:

FINAL Final Fried Windows Front Cover Only

 

That happens to be the 6th anniversary of the date I started writing the story. And yes, Fried Windows was the title from that first day. It comes from misreading a headline on a news feed. I read “Fired” and “Fried” (I really should wear my glasses when reading) and immediately wondered how to serve “fried windows”. Why? In a light white sauce, of course.

From the outset, the story was a quirky tale that fit the title well, but I originally envisioned it as a short story only. I posted the first draft on Fanstory, an internet-based writing community, to receive feedback, which was completely positive. Most reviewers wanted to read more about the weird characters.

So, I began writing a series of short stories, 16 of them in all, about the characters. And, except for shared elements, the stories were not linked. Neither did I consider the work a novel in progress, nor envisioned creating a novel.

A year later, I took the original story (about 8,000 words), edited it, sent it to a friend in Ontario for a good second edit. Yes, I know other writers there besides Pandamoon Publishing’s Alisse Lee Goldenberg and An Tran. And then, after receiving the edited copy, I submitted it to a magazine. I expected the mag to buy the story and just knew they were going to be asking for more installments. I was so confident that I was planning where to spend the money.

As I waited for a response from the magazine, I decided to edit the other stories in the collection, just to be ready for the magazine’s inevitable demand. As I did, I noticed some threads of a story arc. But it was only when the magazine rejected my submission that I considered the collection of short stories a viable draft novel.

Naturally, as a writer, I was accustomed to rejection. The response is always the same, revise and resubmit. But in this instance, I just needed some connecting pieces, which I wrote, and created a draft manuscript.

After a few more revisions, I considered self-publishing. I was almost ready to press the submit key with Amazon when I noticed a tweet from Pandamoon about accepting submissions. Since I had a MS ready to go, I submitted it. And the rest you know.

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I Must Be Getting Old; I’ve Already Lost My Mind

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Okay, the title is a bit overdramatic. But yesterday morning I had pretty good evidence of the deterioration of my mental faculties, or at least my perception.

As my son left for work, his dog, Rocco, came to visit me, as he does every morning. It was that time for the daily routine. He wanted to go for a walk in the neighborhood so that he can do what dogs normally do on walks.

Rocco likes sniffing everything and everywhere. He leaves his scent as if a calling card or a territorial proclamation for other neighborhood pets. Then, finally arriving at that perfect place to drop0off a few pups, I turn away with some indifference and respect for his privacy even out in the open, plastic bag stretched over my hand to wait. Afterwards, I dutifully pick up the evidence of his business transaction, tie a neat knot in the bag and carry it back to the house to deposit in the trash can. Garbage pick up is every Monday and Thursday, so I stuff it inside garbage bag to ensure its odor does not become too overwhelming whenever anyone steps out into the garage.

Rocco enjoys going on walks mainly because at the conclusion I give him a treat. A spoonful of peanut butter has been his favorite of late, but really, anything from a dog biscuit to chicken or beef jerky would suffice. I enjoy the walks because it gets my blood circulating first thing in the morning, even if lately its been chillier than I prefer, and quite chilly for Florida.

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Yesterday morning’s routine was interrupted with the alarm of not being able to locate my shoes. Walking the dog in house slippers is out of the questions and flip flops at this time of year would be ludicrous, even if I wore white socks to prevent my tootsies from being overly chilled. I had to find my leather dockers – what I always wear.for walking the dog. But as I scanned the floor beside my bed, they simply were not there.

Nudging Rocco to one side as he eagerly awaited, even whining with his growing urgency, I stood and scooted the bed back to see if somehow I might have kicked the shoes under the edge. Nope, not there. I got down on hands and knees – for a man going on 59 that is something of a minor accomplishment though not nearly as much as getting back up afterwards – and confirmed there was nothing under the bed buta couple of fairly large dust bunnies. Certainly the greedy shoe eating ogre departed long ago. That’s not to say that the closet gnome wasn’t busy, though, as behind my back, while I was looking elsewhere, he must have deposited my missing shoes, the ones he’d hidden from me, directly where I had initially looked – the exact place I always leave them, beside my bed. And then, quickly he climbed over the piles of dirty laundry awaiting Saturday, laundry day, and burrowed into the shadowy places of his mysterious realm.

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Well, it was either that of Rocco hid my shoes. I doubt that because he was the one eager to go for a walk and the delay, though possibly amusing, would have only made matter worse. Of course, there is also the obvious, alternative conclusion that I am losing what is left of my mind or at least getting old and forgetful.

Both craziness and forgetfulness run deep in my gene pool. And, on top of everything else, I’m a writer. So, the first thing that popped into my mind was to blame a host of unlikely and improbably culprits, contriving all sorts of conspiracy theories and such,  instead of admitting the simple fact that there is a blind spot that all humans have and it is directly in front of our noses.

#humor #dogs #DailyRoutine #Rocco

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Sweeping Up and The Differences Between The Sexes

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Writers end up doing a lot of things on the side to fuel the creativity and pay the bills while waiting for a novel to go viral. In other words, we wind up doing a lot of the same things aspiring actors and other artists do to make ends meet whether it’s working in a car wash, waiting tables, cleaning houses or whatever. Me? I bag groceries, shag shopping carts, clean restrooms and break rooms and sweep and mop floors in the a retail store. You might think that something as basic as running an industrial-sized, 36 inch microfiber dust mop over a resilient tile floor would be the last place to arrive at an epiphany, but if you do you obviously don’t know how the mind of an only Elgon works.

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While I was pushing along the mop wondering how a floor can accumulate so much crud in a mere six hours since opening, negotiating an obstacle course of attended and unattended shopping carts and randomly places humanity, I recalled something someone posted on Facebook the other day about experiencing ‘road rage’ while pushing attempting to shop in the worlds largest retailer of just about everything imaginable. I refuse to give the great melting pot of shopper diversity a plug here because I hate shopping there too and for the same reason expressed in the Facebook post. Specifically I can’t stand people who turn their shopping basket sideways as if they were the police performing a roadblock on a major highway. I understand it is difficult to decide whether to buy the institutional size Fruit Loops or Honeynut Cheerios as the week’s breakfast staple for the herd of kids when both are on the weekly BOGO (buy one get one) promotion, the kids love both but you don’t have room in the pantry at home of four humongous boxes.

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Notice I said people in the last paragraph. I’m not really out to offend anyone here but, honestly, you knew I was talking about a shopping mom. You see, in our society it is generally the female of the species who buys the groceries. There are some pretty good reasons for that, I think. God knows when I was married and had little kids at home all of us would have starved to death had I been in charge of getting groceries.

As Economy Struggles, Disparity Of Wealth Becomes More Glaring

Men are not power shoppers as a rule. However, we can be made into efficient fetchers. Give us a shopping list and fifteen things on it one Sunday afternoon just twenty-five minutes before a big televised game and we’re like heat seeking missiles homing in on each and every target on the slip of paper. We’ll be back with everything before the kickoff, first pitch or tip off – or we will die in the process.

By the way, the reason women think men never ask for directions is that they are never with us when we have a shopping list in a grocery store and a self-imposed time limit for the outing. Not only will you see us asking directions, especially if we have rarely ever been in the store, but also you will notice us going out of our ways to find store clerks to ask, “Where do you guys keep the coffee creamer?” And when we are told is is by the milk, we’ll immediately say, “I guess that makes sense. Hey before you go, just where is the milk?” Then after being led to the milk, we’ll ask for one more thing. “Before you go, what about those curly, twirly cheese puffs? You are out of them in the aisle. Do you think have any in the back room?” I swear, it happens.

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Yesterday, while running the dust mop over a the floor I noticed a couple of things. First of all, the guys who were in the store we in a hurry and generally not at all happy about being there – especially if they were tagging along with their significant others. Some them were strategically attempting to hurry the process but to little avail. However, the men noticed when I approached with the mop and stepped out of the way. Most of the time they alerted the female with whom they were shopping and briefly she emerged from the fog of buying decisions to move just enough to allow me to pass.

The women who were unaccompanied generally continued to block the aisle obvious to anything else but their pondering whether to risk buying the brand of cat food that was on sale for darling fluff ball even though she has always preferred the more expensive brand that never seems to be on sale whenever the pantry shelf is bare. I had to ask that lady to excuse me and even then I’m not sure she even knew why she was moving.

Then there was the lady in bread aisle with two shopping baskets, one of her oldest kids was helping push the second. Her attention was completely focused on which specific loafs were on the weekly BOGO. Even after saying excuse me twice she didn’t move, so I swept around her as if she were a store fixture.

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What raced into my mind at that point was a profound revelation on the differences in our genders when it comes to shopping. Just as men are often accused to having selective perception, ignoring everything else but whatever we are focused on whether it is work, watching on TV or checking out something on the Internet, women are exactly the same way when it comes to shopping. I don’t think I said excuse me even once to any guy as I navigated the aisles with my trusty dust mop that was as wide as half the aisle. But I can guarantee it was only by accident that any women got out of my way before I was within three feet and said, “Excuse me, let me just sweep around you there.”

#groceries #shopping #men #women #GenderSpecificBehavior #retail #humor

Uncategorized

Biking USA – Orlando Style

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Many of you know that I ride a bike to and from work. Pretty much I ride a bike everywhere that I need to go. You may also know that Orlando, where I live, is not what I’d call a biker-friendly city. Few places in America are. And the alternatives to using an automobile for commuting are few. Mass transit here exists but is largely a joke when trying to reach most places. But that’s a subject for another blog.

This time we are focusing on the experience of riding a bike in O-town. And since road rage for a biker could very easily turn into road rash I thought a more passive aggressive approach might be best for venting some of my frustrations with my commutes.

  1. Shards of glass from broken bottles. I’m not certain why it is necessary for some people to break bottles on the sidewalk but it is enough of a problem that there are at least a couple of mine fields I have to navigate in my commute. A few times I have halted and brushed the glass into the grass , which I’m sure presents an entirely different hazard for someone or something walking along the side of the walkways.
  2. Wild animal obstacles such as deer, armadillos, tortoises, cranes and – my personal favoraite, – kamakazi geckos. Unlike the cute little guy in the Geico commercials, these are small lizards that regardless which side of sidewalk Ithey happen to be on and whichever side of the sidewalk I am riding my bike, they will invariably make a mad dash to the side furthest from them thus exposing them to the great probability of being run over. I really try to avoid them as I do not like harming any living thing but sometimes its unavoidable and the carcass becomes a feast for the ants that I see the next day as I ride through. Yet, undaunted other geckos play their version of frogger, which we will call Lizzer, with my bike tires.
  3. No matter the direction iI raide it is always into the wind. Yes, I get it that if I am doing twenty miles per hour that means that even on a calm day that is at least a twenty mile-per-hour headwind. But it always seems the wind is actually blowing in my face even when I stop the bike.
  4. Pedestrians sharing the sidewalk tend to be text messaging or wearing earbuds – sometimes both – and not paying ay attention to my calling for their attention so that I can safely pass by them. Then they seem upset that I scared them or that I would dare use the same sidewalk they walk on for riding a bike. Well, you talk to the city about putting in bike lanes. I’ve tried. They claim they need to have enough biker demand in an area to justify it but I feel it is more a matter that if they built the lane more people might use bikes for short trips. Heaven forbid that a city might be laid out with some intelligence for that the people who live in it are not totally dependent on automobiles. Again, that’s a subject for another blog.
  5. Spider webs in the dark are a periodic hazard that allows me to demonstrate my superior no-hand bike pedaling ninja skills. Unfortunately it is also dark and very few people have ever witnessed the spectacle. It is quite impressive though.
  6. Trees branches overhanging the sidewalk are largely invisible in the dark, even with a bike light. They are just low enough for me to run my head into because the people who maintain the landscape trim the trees to accommodate those on foot and people who are not basketball players.
  7. Other bikers and/or joggers coming the opposite direction are also a problem, especially if the sidewalk is narrow. It’s hard to judge distance and whether there is enough room, so usually one, the other of both take to the grass and hope that there isn’t any of the aforementioned shards of broken glass hidden.
  8. School Crossing guards with school kids in the queue present one of those strange situations. If you wait to cross with the kids the drivers who are waiting look at you funny. What’s a fifty-something man doing going to school anyway?
  9. The busier intersections having walk lights that cycle whenever the oncoming traffic is halted. And then the countdown starts when you are in the middle of the intersections as if to subtly say hurry up your slow ass. Cars wanting to make a right turn on red think the biker is waiting to cross in front of them so they sit miffed that I’m not going with the light – in the other direction – before it occurs to them that I am waiting..
  10. And my favorite, the 9:30 PM pup chase. You see, my neighbor lets his two dogs out to do their business and if I happen to come home around that time, both dogs give chase. They have ambitions of catching me, though I’m not sure they would know what to do with me. Refer back to my ninja skills. One of the dogs has long enough legs to give a decent pursuit provided he was in better shape. The other’s legs are shorter than his grand ambitions of catching me.

There you have it., the ten things I least like bout riding my bike to and from work.

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#biking #commute #humor #alternativetransportation