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The Writer's Mailbag: Installment 189

Updated on February 12, 2018

Not Enough Time for Creative Writing

Not whining, just stating a fact.

I’m so busy with client work, and with getting ready for the farmers markets, that my creative writing has gone into hibernation for awhile. I don’t mind, really. I needed a break from killing people. LOL And even though I’m not actually writing creatively, my mind is writing each day, working out plots, working out character development . . . it never seems to go on break.

And I love it!

And I love the questions you friends always ask.

Let’s get to them.

The Mail Room!
The Mail Room! | Source

Does Marketing Ever End?

From Eric: “Now that you have a huge base of followers are you still "hitting the gym" of marketing here?”

I suppose, in a very real sense, every single time I post an article on HP, it can be considered “hitting the gym” in marketing, Eric. So yes, in that respect, I’m still hitting the weights. That’s really the extent of my marketing campaign right now. I’m too busy to spend more time on it. I’ll probably remain in hiatus until I publish my latest novel, but when that will be is anyone’s guess at this time.

Truthfully, I don’t do much marketing in the classic sense of the world. I form relationships and friendships with online people, and if they want to purchase one of my books that’s just a bonus, but I don’t like to beat friends over the head constantly with my own personal marketing campaign. I know, I know, you marketing whizzes out there are groaning right now, but I don’t write for fame or fortune. That was never my goal. I just write because I love to write. If someone buys one of my books then that’s a bonus.

How much marketing of this old man is too much?
How much marketing of this old man is too much?

Hp Ads

Also from Eric: “Bill just a straight up HP question. How do you keep the disgusting ads off your articles. In between my ending and comments are some real gross ones. You know photos of an awful condition to sell you the cure.”

Eric, I may be the absolute worst person to ask this question of. I belong to the Adsense Program but I don’t have a clue about the particulars and I really don’t care that much. However, my understanding is you really don’t have much say in which ads are placed on your articles. You can, of course opt out of the Adsense Program, in which case I think the ads will end, but that’s about your only option.

Having said that, I’m willing to bet some of the readers will have a better understanding of how this all works. I’ve only been with HP for six years, so how would you expect me to know? LOL

I did reach out to HP but haven’t heard back from them on that question.


From William: Hi, Bill. I have a question about ellipses. What is the correct way to write them? I've seen several ways. Is it, a...b? a ...b? a .... b? a . . . b? or a. . .b? I know they are subtle differences. You might have to look close. Thanks in advance.

Bill, ellipses are interesting in that there seems to be a conflict of interpretation about them, and I’m not sure anyone is correct in their interpretation.

For those wondering what the heck an ellipse is, it is a series of three dots which usually signal an omission of some sort. It can also signal a hesitation or a pregnant pause in thought before continuing.

In researching this, I found that most opinions side with a space before and after each period . . . like what I just did . . . and interestingly enough, the Word spell check program recognizes that form as being correct. So if it’s good enough for Word, it’s good enough for this boy.

More Grammar

From Lois: “I learned typing many years ago, and the rule of thumb on spacing was one space after a comma, and two spaces after a period. The other day someone online chastised me for having two spaces after every period. He said it was common now, online, to only have one space after a period. Who is correct on this? Do you know?”

I’m laughing, Lois, and I’ll tell you why shortly.

The two-space practice was adopted way back when because typewriters are monosyllabic. Using a single space when on a typewriter just didn’t look correct . . . it was visually confusing . . . so the two-space practice began.

Type-setters, however, since the beginning of the type-set era (Guttenberg, anyone?) have followed the single-space rule.

My thoughts: Tell your friend to get a life! I actually know people like your friend who have nothing better to do with their time than correct people for using an extra space in a manuscript. They drive me crazy! There are more important things in life than the one-space rule. I suggest that your friend go out and try to find them.

Gee, I hope that didn’t sound too caustic!

Adding to my book collection
Adding to my book collection | Source

Next Book?

From Doreen: “Bill, when are you going to publish your next book? I’m growing impatient (not really but I am eager).

Well gollllllllllllllly, Doreen, thanks for the ego-boost.

I have no clue. My creative writing is on hold. I’m 25,000 words into the next novel and the brakes have been applied. I’m just too busy with other stuff right now and honestly I just needed a break from writing novels. I love the new book I’m working on, but not enough to sit down and write the last fifty-thousand words.

If I had to guess, I’d say it will be done in the fall.

Sorry for the delay, but thank you for caring enough to ask about it.

How about I give you the opening couple of paragraphs from “The Magician’s Shadow” to quench your thirst?

It was the stark contrast that first got to Bill Putnam, Detective First Class, Olympia Police Department . . . bright pink pajamas with little dancing lambs, golden hair, ghostly white skin, all unnaturally bright under the July sun, a little girl named Mary Burnett, splayed out on a dark bed of tidal mud on Olympia’s waterfront. She’d been missing from her bedroom for twelve hours when an early-morning jogger spotted her. Ten hours earlier her frantic parents called the police, who responded immediately because, well, Mary was only four, and any missing four-year old is trouble.

Sea gulls rode the air currents above. A gentle breeze danced through Putnam’s hair. The sounds of traffic on State Avenue, two blocks away, a horn, a siren, someone shouting to get the hell out of the way, background noise for the stillness of death.

He was standing alongside Dawn Robie, Detective Grade Two, his partner in homicide, ten years on the force, someone he completely trusted. The M.E., Doc Meyster, was standing next to them. Dawn looked more like a schoolteacher, but Putnam would never tell her that. Long auburn hair, usually in a bun, wire-rim glasses, slight build, she was unassuming and possessed a gentle face, not beautiful but stunning in her imperfect way. Doc Meyster looked like a bear masquerading as a human with large, wild tufts of graying hair seemingly everywhere on his body.

“This just pisses me off, Bill,” she said, taking her eyes off the scene and watching a gawker drive by slowly. “Jesus Christ, Parker, block off this road,” she yelled at a uniform twenty feet from them. “It should have been done immediately!” She turned back to Putnam, studying his face. “What kind of sick world do we live in?”

She wasn’t expecting an answer.

Dawn tried another question.

“How the hell did he put her body out there? There are no footprints leading to her.”

She was correct. The mudflats of the estuary were exactly that, mud, and anyone foolish enough to walk on them would sink a good foot, maybe more, but Mary Burnett was at least forty feet from solid ground and nowhere leading to her was there a footprint. It was as though she had been gently placed there from above, airborne special delivery.

Again Putnam had no answer, and no answers would be forthcoming until they retrieved the young girl, if then.


Who said that, Bugs Bunny? I think so, yes!

Anyway, that’s all we have this week. Thanks, as always, for the questions, for reading, and for your comments.

May your creative process never die!

2018 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”


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