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The Writer's Mailbag: Installment 184

Updated on January 8, 2018

Hit the Ground Running

I, for one, am happy to see the holidays come to an end. They wreak havoc on my daily schedule, and since I’m a creature of habit it was a long month to endure.

So I’m happy. I’m back in my writing groove with renewed energy and a slight shift in direction.

Yes, the Mailbag will continue. The shift I mentioned has more to do with my creative efforts. I think I’ll go back to more reflective pieces when writing for HP, instead of the short stories I’ve been doing. This is a genre I made my bones with when I first started at HP, and I miss doing those reflective pieces.

I also think the novel I’m working on now, “The Magician’s Shadow,” will be the last of the Shadow series for awhile. I’ve grown tired of killing people, and I have a couple other novels I really want to write, so I’ll have Eli Baker and his killing group of friends take a break while I work on a couple books which are much more reflective and introspective.

So that’s where I am. With any luck, I’ll live long enough to see it happen.

Let’s see what we have in the Mailbag.

Welcome to the Mail Room!
Welcome to the Mail Room! | Source

Guilt for Writing

From Dennis: “I do have a question for you. Do you ever feel guilty spending time writing when you know there are several other activities that need attention? I find this happens to me quite often and end up quite conflicted.”

Yes, Eric, often as a matter of fact, or I should say I did feel it until I made a conscious decision to shorten my workday. Up until last year, my writing day stretched from 6:30 a.m.to 2:00 p.m. The guilt was eating me up because I have many more interests which also need my attention, and I was doing a poor job with those interests. So now I work from 6:30 to 11:30 on writing, and then turn my attention to our critters, our urban farm, and other things like the farmers market . . . and, oh yeah, family!

It is working for me so far, so we’ll see how it goes in 2018. All I know for sure right now is the guilt is gone.

Good luck to you, and thanks for the question.

Hp Notifications

From Dana: “Hey, Bill, I see that HP is back to normal and we are all getting our notifications again. What did you do to get them working on that problem?”

LOL…what did I do, Dana? I don’t know how much influence you think I have with the HP management, but I can assure you it is close to zero. I simply sent an email to the staff and told them there was a problem in River City. Evidently quite a few people wrote to them, and forums were started, and finally they figured out the glitch and solved the problem.

I had zippidy-do-dah to do with it all, but thanks for elevating me in importance for a brief while.

Switching Genres

From Bob: “I had this weird idea, Bill, of writing a novel which includes several genres, like Part One would be a western, Part Two a science fiction, and Part Three a mystery, and they would all connect in the end. Do you think that’s even possible, and should I give it a go?”

Bob, honestly, no smoke being blown at all here, I think that is one of the most original and intriguing ideas I have heard in a very long time. Is it possible to switch genres mid-book? In the hands of a talented writer, anything is possible. Do I think you should give it a go? If you don’t I will. Seriously, YES you should give it a go! If you pull it off it would be so cool, and I think it would have great appeal to many publishers out there.

Maybe that’s been done before in literature, Bob, but I’ve never seen it or heard of it. I know many authors who have switched genres from one book to another. I know of many books which could be described as multi-genre in nature, but I know of no novels which deliberately separated sections of the book into different and diverse genres like you described. The concept alone has me excited. I sure hope you try it. Stay in touch and let me know how it goes, please.

Telling the Truth

From Francis: “Bill, what do you think about telling the truth in novels? Does the writer have a responsibility to be honest in his/her writings?”

Francis, the question is a bit confusing. A novelist….a writer of fiction….has no responsibility to be honest at all. He/she is the creator of fiction, which by definition is make-believe.

The author of a non-fiction book has, in my opinion, an implied responsibility to be honest.

The writer of a historical fiction has a 50% responsibility to be honest . . . the 50% which is historical!

But then we enter into the snake pit.

Honesty is always skewered by our point of view, isn’t it? I can see an event and relate that event to you, but my reporting of that event might be a bit different from the retelling of that same event by another person. We are both being honest, but the story comes out differently. Watch network news stations for confirmation of this.

It’s a bit of a sticky wicket, isn’t it?

Read history books written 100 years ago for our education system, and then read history books written last year about the same historical events. I think you are going to see quite a bit of difference in the way historical events are/were viewed. Were the authors of those books being honest? I think, for the most part yes, they were, but their research and viewpoints were colored and lacking, possibly in both instances.

So, telling the truth . . . walk softly and carry a big stick!

A fiction writer? Honest? Truth?

I write fiction!  Don't expect me to be truthful.
I write fiction! Don't expect me to be truthful. | Source

Blog or Hp?

From Sydney: “Which will make me more money, writing every day on HP, or monetizing my blog and writing every day on the blog?

Oh boy!

Another sticky wicket!

The answer I’m about to give is simply my opinion. I do not believe there are any reliable studies which can definitively give a monetary answer to this question, so you’re stuck with my opinion.

And my opinion might surprise a few of my friends on HP.

Given the scenario you just stated (and I know Sydney is talking about a licensed realtor writing articles about real estate) I believe she is better off concentrating on HP if she is looking to make money quickly. Writing keyword-rich articles on HP about a popular topic like real estate should start generating a supplemental income on HP in six months, and a steady income from that point forward. I’m not sure the same can be said about a blog. The problem with monetizing a blog is gaining a loyal following on that blog, and it takes longer than six months to establish a blog audience of any considerable size.

From a business standpoint, I think a combination of both is needed. I know Sydney wants this to be just a part of her freelance writing business, concentrating solely on writing content articles for real estate companies, and in that scenario a professional website with a blog is just good business, but Sydney’s question asks which can generate income quickly, so that’s my convoluted answer and the reasoning for it.

Hp Being Sold

From Bertra: “The big news is HP being sold to Maven. What do you think about it all, Bill?”

I just happened to stumble upon that new, Bertra, and I read the lengthy discussion about it on the forums. Honestly, I don’t care. I joined HP to join a community of writers and not to make money. As long as the community stays together, I’m a happy camper. I know quite a few people are upset by this news, or at least unsettled a bit, but I truly don’t care. I may affect the money I make; it may not. I guess we’ll see. I’m just a writer, Bertra. I leave those weighty, important matters to someone else.

Big news about HP being sold, I guess!
Big news about HP being sold, I guess! | Source

Another One Tucked Away

I always enjoy the turning of the calendar to a New Year. It is a time of revitalization for me. It is a time for reflection and adjustments . . . new goals . . . new challenges.

I wish, for all of you, a breath of new life in your writing endeavors and in life itself. Life is to be lived with gusto. Never become complacent with this gift we’ve been given.

2018 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

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    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 16 hours ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Frank! I'll be by to visit your new post in a little while.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 16 hours ago from Shelton

      Bill another complete and well written Mailbag.. I like the reply to the genres.. awesome my friend :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 40 hours ago from Olympia, WA

      My pleasure, Eva! There are actually something like 22 or 23, so Happy Reading!

    • Eva Hard profile image

      PE Hardwicke 40 hours ago from Midwest USA

      Thanks very much Bill for the link you gave for your book "The sun never rises." The link gave a lead to one of the chapters, and I am now following it chapter by chapter. There are more than 12, I believe ( I am on chapter 10 now), and enjoying it a lot.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 43 hours ago from Olympia, WA

      Happy New Year Alyssa! Thank you....you guys can keep that cold weather, thank you very much. We are having a very warm winter here in the Northwest.....almost spring-like this week.

    • Alyssa Nichol profile image

      Alyssa 46 hours ago from Ohio

      I am also happy that the holidays are over. It feels refreshing to get back into a normal routine. Although, it has taken me the past two weeks to do so. haha! Now, if Ohio (and I'm certain there are plenty of people from other mid-western and northeastern states who feel the same) could move into spring it would be perfect! :) Another great installment this past week! I love the idea of changing genres for each book in a series. How interesting and what a surprising twist that would be for the reader! Happy 2018!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 days ago from Olympia, WA

      MizB, you take care of yourself, now! I don't like hearing of friends hurting.

      Hooray for the baby chicks. They will be laying eggs and pooping in the yard soon. :)

      Have a great week, MizB!

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      MizBejabbers 3 days ago

      I haven't been around lately either but it wasn't the flu. I thought since I retired, my poor shoulder would get well, but it hasn't, so I've been in bed all week with a bad "computer" shoulder and a "mouse" elbow, but it kept me at home and away from people with the flu. Truth is stranger than fiction. You had some interesting questions this week, my friend. I'm not qualified to comment on any of them. Our baby chicks graduated to the greenhouse this week, and they are loving it. Have a good rest of the week, friend Bill.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Audrey, there are far too many of my friends sick with that flu. You take care of yourself. It's a nasty one for sure. As for this online family, I love you all.

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 4 days ago from Nashville Tn.

      Hi Bill

      Been sick with the bug that's bugging folks just about everywhere. Just want you to know why you haven't seen me around lately. But here I am - out of bed and well enough to enjoy the mailbag once more.

      What a pleasure it is, to read these Q&A's as well as the many comments left by our beautiful Hub Page family. I'm so darned blessed to be a part of this marvelous group.

      Love ya' Bill and warm hugs.

      Audrey

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 days ago from Olympia, WA

      And a belated Happy New Year to you, my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Eva and welcome back. The Sun Never Rises....my goodness...it's in that pile somewhere. I'll try to take a moment later this morning to find it for you. There were about twelve chapters to that story if I remember correctly.

    • Eva Hard profile image

      PE Hardwicke 5 days ago from Midwest USA

      Bill, I haven't visited here for a l-o-n-g time because I was very busy (unfortunately without accomplishing a great deal). It is good to read your mail again.

      What caught my attention was what you wrote about not writing any more novels of a certain kind (?). It reminded me about a story I started reading but never saw the end of: "The sun never rises". Where could I find it?

      A belated happy New Year!

      Eva

    • Eva Hard profile image

      PE Hardwicke 5 days ago from Midwest USA

      Bill, I haven't visited here for a l-o-n-g time because I was very busy (unfortunately without accomplishing a great deal). It is good to read your mail again.

      What caught my attention was what you wrote about not writing any more novels of a certain kind (?). It reminded me about a story I started reading but never saw the end of: "The sun never rises". Where could I find it?

      A belated happy New Year!

      Eva

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Hell, Eric, what's wrong with a big cathartic cosmos of "the mailman?" LOL You had me laughing out loud this time,....answer coming Monday. Thanks old man! :)

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 5 days ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      OK buddy you just published another of your articles on reflection of life. It is just outstanding in it's field. (no I do not mean the left fielder who just stands is outfield)

      So the question is quite clear. Do you have niches for making the big green, the mulla, the coin and greenbacks or the buckaroos. And one for just being a great writer contributor to life?

      Blog, bus. Books and whatnot.

      Or is it just one big cathartic cosmos of "the mailman"?

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you for sharing your experience, Devika! I always enjoy hearing how other writers do it.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Bill! Nice thing about the Mailbag is you are never late. :)

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 5 days ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      I write when I can and don't spend many hours a the computer. It is usually in the winter that I would focus more on my writing here. Thank you for another useful hub.

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 6 days ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      It seems Monday comes later and later for me. Actually, it's Wednesday. So I opened the mail late. It's still as informative and fresh as it was on Monday. That's one good thing about the mailbag. So thanks again, Bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 6 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Rochelle! I don't know about wise and mature, but thank you nonetheless. :) Blessings to you always!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 6 days ago from Olympia, WA

      That's nice of you to say, Dora! Thank you very much.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 6 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Whatever works for you, Nell my nightowl friend. :) Thanks Nell!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 6 days ago from Olympia, WA

      For sure in retirement, Bill! Until then, keep doing what you are doing, practice your craft, and build that platform. Thanks my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 6 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Mike! It's good to be back in old form.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 6 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Kari....good question...I'll have an answer for you on Monday! Have a great week!

    • rdsparrowriter profile image

      rdsparrowriter 7 days ago

      You are Very matured and wise :) Interesting answers :) I always learn something new from your articles :) Thank you Sir Billy :) Have a blessed year :)

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 7 days ago from The Caribbean

      Bill, I appreciate your wise answers; you have such great understanding. Thanks again.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 7 days ago from England

      My blog has sunk dismally so yes stick to Hubpages! lol! and 6 am? Jeesh! my body clock is considerably different to yours Bill! I sleep at 3 am, get up around 11! write most of the night! Great advice as always.

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 7 days ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Bill. Great week for the Mailbag. Certainly a lot of discussion going on about the sale of HP to Maven. Time will tell but it really matters not to me. Also found the HP versus blog question interesting. I have never tried a travel blog because I just don’t have the time to do it justice, and honestly HP has been pretty darn good to me writing articles here. Perhaps in retirement in a few years.

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 7 days ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Looking forward to your reflective pieces here on HP.

    • k@ri profile image

      Kari Poulsen 7 days ago from Ohio

      I'm with you about the Maven situation. I'll just keep going and see what happens. About the writing time, do you use this time to also read and comment on others' hubs, or is that some of the other stuff?

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 7 days ago from Olympia, WA

      great comments, Heidi, and I especially wanted your take on the HP vs blog debate. I agree with you, it was much easier five years ago to make money on a blog. I just don't have the time or inclination to do it now.

      Thank you my friend!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 7 days ago from Olympia, WA

      LOL...greatest response yet to that news, Pop! Thanks for the great laugh.

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 7 days ago

      Maven? I had no idea that HP was on the block. Now that I know, I don't care! Enjoy the day, Billy.

    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 7 days ago from Chicago Area

      Late to the Mailbag party. Too much going on as the calendar turns. But, like you, I'm so glad it has! I get so antsy over the holidays and I just want to get going.

      Re: Writing Guilt. I've got it, too. But I've realized that there will ALWAYS be something that has to be done or something that needs attention. So I just make a sacred pact with myself to commit to writing/reading time. When I'm done here, no one will care whether I did chores or ran errands. But they may read what I wrote. Priorities!

      Re: Blog vs. HP. I tried my own blog for years before hopping over to HP. It is a HUGE undertaking and the returns in terms of ad revenues are paltry by comparison. I've made more here on HP. As well, I've noticed that those who are super successful in the blogosphere started in the early days when there were fewer bloggers and it was easier to build a following, email list, etc. So, as always, know why you want to blog and make a decision based on that.

      Re: HP Being Sold. I think we all could have anticipated this one. HP has made a lot of positive changes with the network sites and I've been seeing the results in increasing revenues. And I say that any change is welcome that helps them continue to be a sustainable venture for them and us. So many of these types of operations have come and gone over the years. It's a testament to their commitment that they're even still here and thriving.

      Okay, gotta get to work. Happy New Year!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 7 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Kristen....:)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 7 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Excellent, Venkatachari M, and I for one am very happy you are in this community.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 7 days ago from Olympia, WA

      It really is intriguing, Linda. I wish I had the time to try it.

      Thank you as always!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 7 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Michael my friend, we are all simply reviving the words, and yet the statement "I am a writer" carries serious responsibility. :) Blessings always my wise friend.

    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 7 days ago from Northeast Ohio

      Bill, you're always welcome my friend.

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 8 days ago from Hyderabad, India

      Another insightful mailbag with great questions and befitting answers. Your opinions are always noble and beneficial. Regarding HP, I also believe in the same direction that I am gifted with a nice community of writers as the reward for my joining this writing platform, which I treasure much.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 8 days ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I love Bob's question. The idea of a multi-genre book is intriguing. There's always something interesting to read in the Mailbag!

    • Michael-Milec profile image

      Michael-Milec 8 days ago

      Utterly reviving concept. What an Opening statement "shifting direction toward reflecting pieces' something good is coming out from your pen my friend.

      Next concerned writers question "Does the writer have a responsibility to be honest in his/her writings? "(- Isn't he, she )?! I suppose we are honest in all our doings.Thinking of how powerful words are spiritually- once released can't be taken back. Trying to understand our mission, Iv'e heard inner voice "I am a writer. What can it be that I am doing badly. I'm just reviving the words.''

      Peace with us.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 8 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you, Mary, for your thoughts. Regarding HP, I never really expected much from them, other than to give me a community I could relate to and correspond with....so I'm a little bit different than the rest of you and what you are looking for. Income never was a factor for me in joining.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 8 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Manatita! That is the hope, to inspire....me too! :) Blessings always, my friend.

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 8 days ago from Brazil

      I can relate to the guilt issue, I have it both ways. I feel guilty if I'm not writing and doing chores. The flipside is if I am writing and not doing chores.

      The problem as I see it, is the revenue gained from writing isn't always immediate and one can begin to question whether it is worth investing the time.

      I love the idea of the different genre story.

      Regarding the sale of HP, I'm concerned.

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 8 days ago from london

      Another strong piece, some great questions and noble advice.

      I really enjoyed it. Thanks Bill.

      I think that the reflective pieces will inspire, especially with your style and Spirit. Nice!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 8 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Rasma! I'm just happy to see all of my friends return for 2018.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 8 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Kristen! I've had that same comment about some of my writing, the need to get rid of passive verbs. Sigh! I'll address this next Monday. thank you

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 8 days ago from Olympia, WA

      It's completely out of my control, Flourish, so I choose not to worry about it. If it works, great! If not, I'll keep writing. Easy peasy! :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 8 days ago from Olympia, WA

      I love that simile, Eric. I'm a little jealous I didn't think of it. :) Thanks buddy!

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 8 days ago from Riga, Latvia

      Thanks for the new information. Lots of things to ponder over this month. Looking forward to the next.

    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 8 days ago from Northeast Ohio

      Great mailbag as always my friend. I do have a question to ask you for next week. How do you simplify action in prose and make your work less passive in writing, other than removing passive words? I've been told that by two people for two of my mss.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 8 days ago from USA

      I am also glad to see the holiday season come to an end, as I enjoy my routine. All that shopping was interfering with my schedule. I wonder if the notifications not being fixed for a long time and the sale of HP were connected. It went on an awful long time with no one noticing. Few mergers and acquisitions turn out to be good business decisions, but we’ll see. That’s water after under the bridge now and people always think their deal will be different.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 8 days ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Bill hmmm,

      I think you were fishing for this compliment -- I'll bite.

      Yes for those of us who love our routine holidays are like moving furniture around in a blind man's house. So we need normalcy. Getting your mailbag each Monday like clockwork helps me get into my work week routine. It is a pleasant rock from which one can jump into the river of life..

      Thank you.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 8 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Linda. Laughing out loud is okay, as long as you don't snort. Snorting is not allowed in the Mail Room! LOL

      Do I make things up? I'm a fiction writer for God's sake. What do you think? :)

      Yes, I think the sale of HP is a good thing...gut feeling...it's all good, my friend. I wonder how Hemingway would have handled the news of an HP sale? Oh, right, he wouldn't have cared one iota.

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 8 days ago from Washington State, USA

      Good morning Bill. Yesterday we "undecked" the halls and so things are moving in the direction of normal in the Carb Diva household as well. The cat is in a bit of a snit however, because he no longer has a Christmas tree under which to hide.

      First, you made me laugh out loud (it's OK. My family has become accustomed to it). You've grown tired of killing people? That's an improvement over last year's list of resolutions. And then I wondered...

      ...do you make these things up? (Just kidding). You got some amazing questions this week. The concept of a multi-genre book is simply mind-blowing. I don't have the writing chops to do it, but if someone out there who's listening does and can, I'd buy it for sure.

      Guilt? I'm too ADD to have guilt over ignoring things that must be done instead of writing. I circle throughout the day from A to B to C and then back to A again.

      I don't know (nor does anyone else) what the sale of HP will mean to us, but like you as long as we can stick together, I don't really care. My gut feeling is that it will be a positive thing.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 8 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Love that attitude, Melissa! LOL Thank you! Yes to switching genres. I think that's the most innovative idea I've heard in writing in a very long time.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 8 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Sally, if I had to guess, I would say this sale is for the better, and all the worrying will be for naught. Hang in there my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 8 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Janine, I'm glad you survived the storm. Man, you guys have had some nasty weather the last few winters. Hoping the "heatwave" approaching you will thaw things out nicely. As always, thank you for being here, my loyal friend, and Happy Monday to you.

    • mpropp profile image

      Melissa Propp 8 days ago from Minnesota

      Happy Monday Bill! Lots of great questions to get my week started....The idea of switching genre's in same book is very intriguing. I've never seen that done before, but it sounds like fun!

      I'm kind of out of the loop, so I guess I will need to do a little digging on the HP acquisition. It shouldn't affect me, as long as the mail bag keeps coming!

      Have a great and productive week!

    • sallybea profile image

      Sally Gulbrandsen 8 days ago from Norfolk

      I have to say that I felt somewhat disconcerted when I heard about the sale of HubPages. I would hate to think that all the years spent here will come to naught, just when I was beginning to earn a fairly regular income. I am always aware though that life never stays the same and I don't expect it to.

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 8 days ago from New York, New York

      Aw, I am with you on being glad this it is finally the new year. While I love the holiday time, it can get very crazy with keeping up with all with work and family priorities. So, having a full week to actually work would be a welcome change. As last week I thought I'd get close, but then the bomb cyclone storm had other ideas with my husband and girls being off Thursday and Friday. I actually worked a bit this weekend, which I never do. But after having those two days where live just had other plans, I decided I wanted and needed to get some work tended to. Not sorry, but actually made this Monday morning a bit more tame than usual. So again no complaints. That said wishing you a very, Happy Monday now Bill :)