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The Writer's Mailbag: Installment 236

Updated on December 24, 2018

Well Looky Here, It’s Christmas Eve!

To those around the world who celebrate Christmas, may I wish you a very Merry Christmas, unless that offends you, in which case I wish you Happy Holidays or Happy Monday, whichever floats your boat. I don’t really care if you are a “believer” or not. I just live my life with love and let someone else, much smarter than I, work out all that PC stuff.

I’m not big on labels….look at that black guy across the street… friend the Muslim….I met my gay friend the other day….my Republican buddy….seems, to me, like an inundation of unnecessary words. I have had to train myself to get away from that language divisiveness, but it’s hard to do at times. I’m just Bill to my friends; there is no need for any other qualifier. Being Bill is enough, thank you very much. Being Bill is a full-time job. Being White Bill, or Writer Bill, or Farmer Bill, it all just seems to separate me from who I really am, which is the sum total of the entire picture. Ya know?

So let’s do this! We have a full bag today as we come to the end of 2018.

Welcome to the Mail Room
Welcome to the Mail Room

Wasting Time

From Eric: “Bill I have had an issue lately. You at least seem all structured and move from one task to another with intent. I get out there and just stood for about thirty minutes watching the clouds light up in their morning flare. How the heck do you stop such manner of "wasting" time. I know you like to sit under trees like Buddha. (perhaps a life question rather than a writing one - but to me there is no line of demarcation)”

Eric, I suspect you know very well that what you are doing is not wasting time. In fact, I think what you are doing is much more important than what Mr. Anal (my affectionate nickname for myself) is doing right now. I can sit under trees with the best tree-sitters in the world, but I only allow myself to do that in the afternoon after my writing is done. For me there is a clear line of demarcation, and that line is noon.

My wife "wasting time."
My wife "wasting time."

Createspace Shake-up

From William: “Bill, I see you address CreateSpace. I have always (until now) published with CreateSpace. A few months ago I was told that all my books were being moved to Kindle as there was no more CreateSpace, Could you speak to that? And thanks in advance.”

I knew this was happening, William, but I hadn’t published anything since they made the move. Evidently Amazon abruptly fired the CreateSpace team and consolidated all the services on KDP Select. I just went there, transferred all of my books over to KDP (it took all of two minutes to do that), and then I investigated how tough it would be to publish using the new platform. It appears to be pretty straightforward, using the same approach and template as with CreateSpace. I don’t think it’s going to be a problem at all.

Now mind you I have not done any investigation beyond that, but I will when I publish in February. My guess is that nothing has changed. Amazon was always in control, even when CreateSpace was around. I think this is more a “trimming of the corporate fat” more than anything else.

Updating Articles on Hp

From Mary: “I know you have a vast number of articles here on Hubpages and the niche sites. My question is, do you update any of your articles? I know HP suggests updating but just wondered if you felt it was important to your type of articles?”

Mary, the quick answer to your question is no, I do not update my articles on HP. My reason for not doing so is important, though, and that reason is . . . I just don’t care. It’s not that I don’t think it will help to increase views because I do think it will. The HP staff knows quite a bit more than I do how to play the Google search engine game. If they say updating my articles would increase viewership I have no reason to doubt them.

My reason for not doing so is simply a matter of time and convenience. I have a ton of stuff I still want to write. I don’t have time to go back and update 1,400 articles. That’s a young man’s game and I’m not playing it. J

Strange Muse

From Shannon: “I have a random mailbag question for you - if it hasn't already been asked. Thought it might be fun for you to share and interesting for us to know. . .What is the strangest way that your muse has provided inspiration?”

Jeez Louise, Shannon, I don’t know if I have a “strange” example. The whole process seems a bit bizarre to me. I never know when it is going to happen, and it happens, usually, when I’m not trying to make it happen. An example: I am 50,000 words into my new Shadow novel, and until yesterday I had no idea how the book was going to end. I went for a walk with Maggie out at the farm, and I was tossing sticks for her to chase, and the ending of the book popped into my brain. Clarity arrived out of the fog, so to speak. I wasn’t thinking about the book at all, but my muse decided it was time to share with me.

The whole process is a mystery to me and I’m fine with that.

My muse can be found down this path
My muse can be found down this path

Benefitting From Theories

From Brian: “Have you benefited in practical ways from any theory of story creation, such as Aristotle's Poetics or Volger's Writer's Journey (based on Campbell's Hero with a Thousand Faces) or Phillips's Dramatica (which I just learned about in a Google search) or Leonard's 10 Rules of Writing or whatever?”

Brian, I will probably disappoint you with this answer, but no, not one bit, unless by osmosis. I have benefitted from Sister Mary Charles’ Diagramming Rules, and Sister Agnes’ Rules of Proper Language, and I went to Harper Lee’s School of Storytelling. I found them all very helpful.

All fun aside, my writing is the result of eighteen years of education and seventy years of living. I write what I feel. I break grammar rules often. I do not outline or plan. I’m constantly in a state of “winging it” when I write. About the only thing I can say about my style is it works for me.

Do Excerpts Help Book Sales?

From Rodric: “Question: You have answered this before, I think, but I cannot locate it. I notice that you put the excerpt of your book on some of the Mailbags--to my joy! Does doing that help increase sales? I know that I am going to buy the book now, but does that work for you consistently?”

Rodric, I have no statistics to back up any claim; about all I can say about posting excerpts is that it can’t do any harm to do so. Since I’m not “sales motivated,” I share excerpts simply because I know some friends will enjoy them. I have a pretty loyal following, and those excerpts are little gifts to my followers.

But again, to answer your question, what can it possibly hurt to do so? I think it’s a good marketing tool unless . . . and this is a big UNLESS . . . unless one is a horrible writer, in which case one probably shouldn’t share anything. lol

Book Structure

From Kathy: “My first questions: how do you figure out the structure for your books? Do you recommend taking classes or reading how to books?”

Kathy, thanks for your very first question. I think my approach to structure comes from an innate ability, which in turn comes from countless hours in classrooms during my youth. I also learned at the hands of the masters…Lee, Steinbeck, Hemingway…I have read A LOT over the years, and I was bound to learn something along the way.

“How to” books would certainly help, as would taking classes. I’m not much of a class-taker, so I think I would opt for books, but whatever floats your boat.

The basic structure of a book, by the way, really hasn’t changed much over the years. There is an introduction, there are three or four douses of fuel to keep the plot moving, and there is a conclusion. How you fill in the blanks of that basic structure is what will brand it as your own unique style.

And That Is All This Week, Folks

Thanks so much to all of you who asked questions this week. I had fun answering them, and I hope all of you enjoyed the sharing of information and ideas.

I will leave you with a stanza or two from another Dan Fogelberg song, “Make Love Stay”

Now that we love
Now that the lonely nights are over
How do we make love stay?
Now that we know
The fire can burn bright or merely smolder
How do we keep it from dying away?

Elusive as dreams
Barely remembered in the morning
Love like a phantom flies
But held in the heart
It pales like the emply smile adorning
A statue with sightless eyes.

Moments fleet, taste sweet within the rapture
When precious flesh is greedily consumed
But mystery's a thing not easily captured
And once deceased not easily exhumed.

There’s a message in there for all of us! Love is never a waste of time! Have a love-filled week!

2018 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”


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    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      12 months ago from Olympia, WA

      /Thank you Brian, and Happy New Year to you!

    • B. Leekley profile image

      Brian Leekley 

      12 months ago from Bainbridge Island, Washington, USA

      Thanks for your repy, Bill, to your reply to my question on theories of story creation. I like your story template, described in another answer: Introduction; three or fours douses of fuel to keep the plot moving; conclusion.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      12 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Wow indeed, my friend. Bev had to force me to join HP. What a fool I was not to listen to her immediately instead of fighting it. She's the one who found HP for me...explained patiently how good it would be for me to rub shoulders with other writers. "Okay, I'll give it a go," I said, "but no promises." That was seven years ago and one of the best decisions I have ever made.

      And it is because of you and others like you. What you all have given me cannot have a price tag placed on it. Everything I am as a writer is because of you and my HP homies.

      So thank you sincerely. It's been one hell of a ride.

      Happy New Year!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      12 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Without a doubt the best comment in all my time on HP. I grabbed a hot cup of coffee on this beautiful Sunday morning and just enjoyed the heck out of this rambling, purposeful comment. Thank you my friend!

      Wait until you are seventy like me. Reaction time ain't even close to what it once was.

      The reference to farming was a good one. I love life. There were many days, way back when, when that was not the case, but today I love life. Naturally, now that I'm running out of days, I find an appreciation for them, but truthfully we have all been running out of days since we were born, so better late than never for me.

      Anyway, more shortly!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      12 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Kathy you are very welcome. There is far too much rudeness on HP in the forums; I think it's important that I be kind and thoughtful here.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      12 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I doubt many of us did, Mary. I really should go back and read some of the classics now when I can truly appreciate them.

    • KatWin profile image

      Kathy Burton 

      12 months ago from Florida

      Been watching for the mailbag 236 and somehow missed my notice but persistence paid off and it was found with the answer to my questions. Your answer is much appreciate. I think I will continue reading and writing. Maybe never a book but a few more short pieces will come about.

      I really appreciate your kind and thoughtful responses to questions in the mailbags as well as your responses to comments. So much to learn and so little time seems to still be my motto ...

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      12 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      18years ofeducation and seventy years of living. Our lives truly provide us with most of what we need in our writing. Learning from the masters was what our Literature teacher always emphasized and I am only beginning to do this as I don't think I really appreciated the classics when I was studying these in school.

    • DREAM ON profile image

      DREAM ON 

      12 months ago

      Old farmer Michael has returned. What people don't realize is my work is on my farm with my family and friends. So there is no separation from work and life it is all one. I am out in the fields one with nature and how could life be any better. Smelling the fresh air, seeing animals, insects even though they are not the most friendly. Nothing I did just the way it is. Just like people not everyone is going to like ya. Maybe more often than not they don't even care. Well my father told me years ago if I only had enough sense to listen. You do what is right and that is all you have to care about. You have to look at yourself in the mirror every day. Sure you will make mistakes and let me highlight that so people get to know me a little better. There will be plenty. Like the old Good and Plenty candy. I found out as I get older my mind moves but my body takes a few extra seconds to respond. I can only imagine what happens when I am only 84,94,104 instead of a young 54. So as much as I want to write I find myself pulled in different directions. I have spent a great deal of time with the older generation these wonderful people were my neighbors and friends growing up when I was a young boy. Now they are well into their 80's and 90's. They kept me in line and played a very important role in my life. Some maybe I didn't even like. They were cranky back then but for reasons I didn't understand.I have been able to visit and see them the last days of their lives. Where in some cases family no longer cared. A sad story without a happy ending. What I did realize they aged and so do I. Things that I do now I may not be able to do in the future. I have seen small changes. Small print is almost impossible to see without the help of readers even if their strength is only 125. A cold is not just a cold but knock you on your ass reminder to stay healthy. To live each day to the fullest. The Edge Of Night a reference to a soap opera my aunt use to watch. I wake up early and do as much as I can during the day until I have to go to sleep. I have a big problem with the youth of today. At least the coworkers I see. They don't give a darn. That's my mother talking. I couldn't even use swear words as a kid and I am not going to start now. O.k. you probably would of figured it out anyway. Yes the fear of my mother washing my mouth out with soap. Even though she has been gone 6 years. I reflect back to my past and it does affect my present. I hope in a good way. Well I found out life doesn't happen in a snow globe even though many times I wish it did. Where you could just shake the heck out of it and make it snow like crazy. I am trying to convey my thoughts in an organized fashion but many people I meet say I have no rhyme or reason. Once again I agree to disagree. I beg to differ. Who talks like that. I have learned a world of cliches that they are an extension of me. I could just do away with them but that would be no different than me cutting off a limb an arm or a leg. My question to you among a world of others. Why do people try to bury their past. Run away from it as fast as they can. When their past helped mold them into the person they are today. Why don't more people embrace the day. I think I covered what I wanted to say. In some weird way. I through in lots of good. Mixed in a fair amount of bad. So you would keep searching for the plot. Then the climax snuck up on you before you seen it coming. Then I tricked you with The End. Better yet I could of done To be Continued... another reference to a good program my family would watch on t.v. at home sitting in the parlor on a Friday night. Can you imagine a family all in the same room with no computers or cell phones today. We had a bowl of hot buttered popcorn. It was special and a real treat.Still one of my favorites. What I am trying to say is Thank you for all that you do. There are no words to describe it. You are a master of your craft. I will continue to thank you for the years that you have written so many gems. Where have all the years gone. We have to keep living in the now and all I am left with is WoW!!!!

    • DREAM ON profile image

      DREAM ON 

      12 months ago

      Writer's Mailbag Installment 236. I have to think about that. Watching you over the years and being pleased time and time again. It could be for any number of reasons which I will briefly mention.I look at all the knowledge you have shared which by the way is amazing. Then I have thought of the Mailbags that I have read and I don't have enough sense to understand and use. I do know the learning never stops so I will revisit old Writer Mailbags and see what I have missed. I feel like a villain who sneaks in through a window so nobody can see him and pokes his head around to cause a little more trouble. In life I am the most simple and easy going person like an old time farmer. One who leaves his home early in the morning and plows the fields all day. Comes in to eat way past lunch time because he is happy what he is doing but knows he has to eat. Then goes back to work. No matter how many problems he runs into on an average day. He knows where there is a will there is a way. While out plowing the fields many people think there is old farmer Michael out in the field all day. He works seven days a week. They think I miss out on life because they go to work and can't wait to go home to live their day. What they don't know is every day my day is filled to the brim like the Maxwell House coffee slogan you might remember Chuck of Nuts. I will post this and add just a little bit more. Sometimes I write a comment and then I hit the wrong key and boom all gone in a split second. Has that ever happened to you? As far as I know there is no way to bring back a comment once it is gone. Let me tell you how happy and super excited I am to wish you and your whole family a wonderful and safe Happy New Year. I think super went out in the eighties but I liked it then and I like it now. Simple words convey a bigger message. The word super carries with it 3,650 days of memories. I sometimes dig into those thoughts with an old shovel finding the richest darkest soil that a man ever did see. I know over the years I have planted a lot of crops and even though there is no history of them I have fed my family every year and we are healthy and happy and still growing. I think that is my muse talking. My muse is my friend, my partner and everything I didn't know I could be. What a wonderful day it is. Even though the world wants you to believe different. I have been truly blessed.

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      Nicholas Carr 

      12 months ago

      There is no point in trying to access Fite TV to watch mayweather vs tenshin streaming if you are having issues with the VPN. That is why we suggest the options we mentioned above.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      12 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Oh Sweet Jesus, Sis! I damn near spit my coffee out just now. That's one of those situations you don't know whether to laugh or slap the guy. I think I would have gone with slapping, but I always was the violent sibling. lol Thanks a bunch, Sis, and Happy New Year to you. Come visit sometime. We miss your visits. :)

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      12 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Just another reason for me to like you,Alyssa! Thanks for the laughs. I hope 2019 brings you everything good you can imagine.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      12 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I appreciate that, Rajan! Thank you and Happy New Year to you.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      12 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you so much, Dora! Your friendship is appreciated. Happy New Year!

    • fpherj48 profile image


      12 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Dear White, Writer/Farmer Bro crack me up!! And, you remind of a story that's deserves telling, to go along with your intelligent thoughts (which of course, I agree with!! Geniuses think alike)

      I had attended some fund-raising thingee in town last summer....ran in to a guy I'm familiar with via Town Hall meetings. I never had him pegged as an asshole,,,,,silly me. We talked for a minute or 2 and another guy walked up to him and he says, "Paula, let me introduce to my gay friend, Hank."....I know damned well my face turned white and I THINK I audibly gasped.....but never fear, your quick Sis broke out with, "Well, so nice to meet you, Hank, I'm straight, never speechless, Paula" He laughed so hard, I thought he was going to fall over....and then he said, "Oh, I'd like to add that you're socially aware, Paula.".....That went right over asshole's head. Oh God, help us! Sis

    • Alyssa Nichol profile image


      12 months ago from Ohio

      I couldn't help but laugh out loud when you revealed your very important reason for not updating your articles. Haha! I think I'm with you on that. A lot of people say you should go back and regularly update, but like you, I have a lot of things I want to write. It's hard enough for me to set aside time to publish things, let alone go back on a regular basis and update them. Besides that, sometimes I get annoyed at the butchering process, I mean editing, that gets done to my writing. I find it best just to leave well enough alone. haha! Well, I hope you have a wonderful weekend and Happy New Year!

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      12 months ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA.

      Educative mailbag as always. Thank you for keeping it alive.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      12 months ago from The Caribbean

      Bill, I like the way you give your questioners the option of thinking through the issues for themselves. You remind us to keep learning and that's the message of a real teacher. I appreciate you.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      12 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Linda, and the same back atcha!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      12 months ago from Olympia, WA

      There's always that, Rodric...unless it's crap...but yours is definitely not crap! :)

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      12 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks as always, Heidi! Glad to hear you confirm the KDP publishing process. I'm not up to learning new things right now. :) Happy Holidays to you and yours.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      12 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Zulma, I'm tired just hearing about all of your activities. lol Better you than me, for sure. Love the Wiley Coyote reference. So true!

      Happy Holidays to you, my friend.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      12 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you, Venkatachari M, for you input and observations, and Happy Holidays to you!

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      12 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thanks for yet another interesting edition of the Mailbag. I hope you have an enjoyable New Year, Bill.

    • Rodric29 profile image

      Rodric Anthony 

      12 months ago from Peoria, Arizona

      Thanks for answering the question, Bill. I think that I am going to try doing excerpts from my book to help get it out there more. Thanks for the encouragement. It definitely cannot hurt--unless it is crap!

    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 

      12 months ago from Chicago Area

      Late, but not too late, this week to the Mailbag! I'll hope for a Christmas late pass.

      Re: Createspace Shakeup. Yes, I believe it was a "trim the fat" move by Amazon when then dropped CS. And, yes, with a few minor exceptions, it's the same drill on KDP as it was on CS. I didn't get all shook up about the shakeup.

      Re: Excerpts. Excerpts can be helpful to readers who might be on the fence. And, if you publish on KDP, the "Look Inside" features gives potential readers that excerpt. Can also be used for email opt-in incentives. Only caveat: Don't give away too much!

      Well, gotta run. Wrapping up the Self Publishing Survey report this week and will be publishing on KDP soon. Stay tuned.

      Enjoy your Christmas to New Year's week, aka the least productive week of the year!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      12 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Never apologize for that, Sean. Thank you my brother. Any man who lives his life speaking of peace and love is a brother of mine.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      12 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you MizB, and Merry Christmas to you and your husband. Yes indeed, we have earned the right to be just a bit non-PC.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      12 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Many more years to come, Manatita, and I'm looking forward to it. Peace always, my friend.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      12 months ago from Olympia, WA

      That is a lovely compliment, Peggy, about my book. Thank you so much, and Merry Christmas to you.

    • Sean Dragon profile image

      Ioannis Arvanitis 

      12 months ago from Greece, Almyros

      My Love to you always, my Brother Bill! I wish Peace embraces your Mind, Heart and Soul! Thank you for all the good stuff!

      A good-hearted man is one more God's gift to the world!


      PS: Sorry for the "Brother" but is what my Heart feels for you. And I never censor my Heart. : )

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 

      13 months ago from United Kingdom

      Hi, Bill. Hope you had a lovely Christmas.

      Good mailbag this week. I particularly liked your response about your writing method. It sounds similar to what I do only yours is more controlled. I just sorta jump off the cliff and hope I learn how to fly before I hit the bottom a la Wiley Coyote.

      Even though Christmas is over, I'm still busy. It's Boxing Day today and the sales have started so the town centre is a bit mad. But I have to brave to get a present for my daughter's birthday on the 30th. Also, need to get a gift for my son's birthday on the 4th. Oh, and the New Year's thing in between those birthdays. Can't wait for all that to be over with. I need the rest.

      Anyway, have a good day, Bill.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      13 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Very true, Devika! Very true indeed.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      13 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm glad to hear you enjoyed and approved,Shaloo...thank you!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      13 months ago from Olympia, WA

      No regrets at all, Jackie! Just keep wasting time, my friend,and a late Merry Christmas to you as well.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      13 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Well, Eric, from one present to another, thank you kindly. I hope your Christmas was filled with love.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      13 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks always, Ann! As for CreateSpace, the same thing can be done using Kindle Direct...same template and no excuses.

      Happy Holidays my friend!


    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      13 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Pamela! Life is, indeed, good for this boy! Happy Holidays to you my friend.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      13 months ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Self-publishing is a challenge if one has no idea of how promote these books. I learn lots from you work.

    • swalia profile image

      Shaloo Walia 

      13 months ago from India

      Interesting & informative mailbag as usual. I have learnt more about self-publishing than any other resource. Keep up the good work!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      13 months ago from Olympia, WA

      It is my pleasure, Liz, so thank YOU! Merry Christmas to you and yours.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      13 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Merry Christmas to you, Flourish; thank you for your friendship.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      13 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you so very much, Verlie, and a very love-filled Merry Christmas to you as well.

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 

      13 months ago from Hyderabad, India

      It's a full mailbag with many interesting questions and your wise replies.

      Observing natural scenery is a very good thing. It freshens up our moods and ignites creativity in our minds. I enjoy such things myself even though do not find much time.

      Regarding updating articles on HP, I too am indifferent to that process. I update it only when gets semi-featured or unfeatured.

      You provided some good points regarding the structure of a book.

      Wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      13 months ago from UK

      Happy Christmas, Bill. Thanks for taking the time to pass on your tips. This is an interesting and inspiring read, as always.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image


      13 months ago from USA

      Merry Christmas to you and your family. I wish you peace, love, health and happiness. Take time each day for wasting. It’s a good investment.

    • snakeslane profile image

      Verlie Burroughs 

      13 months ago from Canada

      Christmas Eve! Merry Christmas Bill, and all your readers, wishing you peace, love, joy, good company, and an unhurried holiday with all the blessings of the season.

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      Doris James MizBejabbers 

      13 months ago from Beautiful South

      Hi, Bill, I really enjoyed your mailbag today (as usual). I'm glad the question was asked about CreateSpace, because I didn't know that Amazon had transmogrified it and was planning on using it. BTW thanks for your answer to my private email. Mike and I are now in the planning stage of my book cover.

      And I agree that Eric isn't wasting time, he's just stopping to smell the roses.

      I'm not one for PC either. I think when we get our age, we've earned the right to think and act as we long as we are a lady or gentleman about it. Let the younger beholders worry about it!

      Merry Christmas to you and your family. Hope it's a beautiful day in your state. It will be high 50s here, but the rain will start moving in.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      13 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm sorry, Mary, I should have been clearer in my answer...both Kindle and paperback/hard copy are available.

      Wishing you a very Merry and blessed Christmas, my friend.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      13 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Genna, thank you always, and Merry Christmas to you and yours. I'm afraid I'm too old to be perfect with the PC. People will just have to trust that I mean nothing when I accidentally break the PC rules.

    • manatita44 profile image


      13 months ago from london

      Well Bro, We have made it this far and God willing, we have some more to go … some more to go. Thank you for your friendship and trust. God bless you and your family.

      I have not forgotten the Hub. You are as immaculate as ever. What can I say? Higher blessings and a big hug and Gratitude for 2018. Merry Christmas!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      13 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you William, and a very Merry Christmas to you and your family.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      13 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Mike, I can definitely respect that. Merry Christmas to you.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      13 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Oh Pop, I never had any doubt you and I are similar. You are bubbling over with passion, and I will always respect that. Merry Christmas to you, my friend.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      13 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Shannon, thank you! Merry Christmas to you, dear friend. Let's make 2019 the best year ever!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      13 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Bill and Merry Christmas to you. As for updating 1400 articles, we will never find out how long that would take. lol

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      13 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Awww shucks, Linda, it ain't no big thing! lol Thank you dear friend. Merry Christmas to you!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      13 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Chitrangada Sharan...wishing you the Happiest of the Holiday season...and thank you for the question. It is a good one, one which most writers will benefit from.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      13 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I really like that, Mr. Happy! So much better than "Bill."

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      13 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Mr. Happy,as always, I loved your comments,but especially the part about "Bill" not meaning anything....great point. I shall correct that in the future, and I do understand the point made Thank you for that! Merry Christmas to you and Happy New Year!

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      13 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Wishing you and Bev a very happy holiday season and a wonderful new year ahead. I was going to hold off starting to read Resurrecting Tobias until after Christmas but foolishly started reading it yesterday. I say foolishly because now I don't want to put it down! You certainly know how to capture a person's interest from page one!

      As to updating older hubs I only do one every two weeks since that is all that can be submitted at one time. They are almost always moved to a niche site after I submit them. If I do update others without directly submitting them, they are seldom moved. I believe the HP team is probably too busy to evaluate every updated article along with all the new ones published...thus, my slow rate of doing the updates. I spend more time on my own website writing new articles.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 

      13 months ago from The Beautiful South

      Guess I have spent most of my life wasting time Bill, and I do not regret it at all.

      Merry Christmas! Happy New Year.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      13 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      I am pleased you think my clouds time is not wasted. I respect you much and it makes me better for knowing you.

      You may think it weird but your opening comments are where Gabe and I are right now. Learning to discriminate is crucial in my view. It is like we have to learn how in order to unlearn how.

      We are doing colors of skin and girl/boy stuff right now and are starting to laugh too much what people think. He is a little two "race" guy. But he just cannot stop his prejudice about my big old belly.

      More fun and hiking today.

      You inspire. If you are my only present this holiday it will be the best.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 

      13 months ago from SW England

      This is a lively one, bill! Great questions and answers of course. I didn't know about CreateSpace discontinuing - it seems just as I think about using something, it stops! Lesson to me - don't procrastinate!

      Hope you, Bev and family have a wonderful Christmas and that 2019 brings you continued love, happiness, health and a load of new book sales!


    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      13 months ago from Sunny Florida

      Bill, I enjoyed al the interesting questions today. I think taking some time to enjoy nature is never a waste of time. I was on the way to the grocery store yesterday with a short last minute list. I wanted to be there at 7 AM to beat the crowd. I still stopped the car for several minutes to gaze at the full moon. It was beautiful. I feed the birds and watch them daily also.

      I get a sense from you that your life is so full of good things and that your are satisfied overall. Not everyone can say that. Happy holidays Billy.

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 

      13 months ago from Brazil

      Hi Bill,

      Thanks for answering my question. I will be interested to see your update in February about the KDP changes. I am still unclear, are books only offered on Kindle and not as a paperback or hard copy? Makes it difficult on coloring books.

      Regarding your muse giving you your ending of the latest book.In some of my recent readings, I've heard of this happening. Apparently we are constantly being bombarded with ideas, but we need to be receptive to them.

      Wishing you a wonderful Christmas.

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 

      13 months ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Merry Christmas, Bill, to you and your family and friends. Nowadays, PC has me a little hesitant and cautious on when I can offer those wishes, but I'm learning -- slow but sure. (It's rather like feeling/testing the ice on a pond before going out for a skate.) As one tree-sitter to another, thanks for the helpful hints on discipline and the knowing and respecting that line of demarcation. I found this and other answers to questions supportive and interesting. A good mailbag! :-)

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 

      13 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      I know you're not big on celebrating the holidays, but Merry Christmas, Bill. Thanks for taking my question, That will help me move on. As always, great questions and answers. Thanks for helping us spread our wings and fly!

    • mckbirdbks profile image


      13 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Merry Christmas to you and your family. Another fine mailbag. Now, I am off to waste time.

    • breakfastpop profile image


      13 months ago

      Dear billy,

      We have way more in common than people may think. Politics aside, I love the way you think, and I admire your zest for life. Enjoy your family, tomorrow and always.

    • shanmarie profile image

      Shannon Henry 

      13 months ago from Texas

      Good morning, Bill, and Merry Christmas to you and your family.

      I can relate to inspiration out if nowhere, but the strangest thing for me is when it comes in the form of a dream, especially dreams of characters portrayed by people I've never met. It's like a movie. However, if I don't write it down right away I forget it. And then, of course, like any dream, it's not complete. I wake up before it ends or only "see" one scene of the movie.

      Enjoy the rest of your year, my friend.

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 

      13 months ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Bill. A very Merry Christmas to you. What a great week for the mailbag. I agree with you that being outside staring at the sky, the trees, the grass growing or whatever is never a waste of time. I relish those moments. As for updating our HP articles, I do it when it is warranted, but the more hubs we write the more difficult this becomes. For you with over 1400 hubs I can’t imagine how long this would take.

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 

      13 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Bill, what a wonderful start to our Christmas holiday. This was a full bag indeed with great questions and answers, a bit of Bill humor, and that sharing love thing that you're just so darned good at.

      And so we come full circle. in the first question, Eric asks if watching the clouds is a waste of time, and your final (and best) thought for us is that Love is never a waste of time. That pretty much sums it up.

      Thank you for being there for us, sharing with us, and caring enough to do this each and every week.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 

      13 months ago from New Delhi, India

      A wonderful way to end this year, with a wonderful introductory paragraph. I can certainly relate to it.

      Wish you and your family, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.

      My question for the next mailbag is, What are some of the ideas, to build a reader base, other than the social media groups?

      Thank You and have a wonderful day!

    • Mr. Happy profile image

      Mr. Happy 

      13 months ago from Toronto, Canada

      You know, I just remembered now that my grandfather, in Romania was always called by people (older people, like his age): "Engineer Ovidenie". Ovidenie was the last name but "Engineer" was always in front of the name. I guess it was sort of an achievement, or something. He was a mechanical engineer.

      That was strange to remember just now. That was the rule, not an exception.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      13 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Janine! Merry Christmas to you and your lovely family.

    • Mr. Happy profile image

      Mr. Happy 

      13 months ago from Toronto, Canada

      "let someone else, much smarter than I, work out all that PC stuff" - What does PC stand for?

      Being White Bill, or Writer Bill, or Farmer Bill, it all just seems to separate me from who I really am, which is the sum total of the entire picture." - Forgive me for not rolling over on this one but "Bill" doesn;t say anything, just like Andrei doesn't say anything. What if we were both Tom? Tom wouldn;t say anything either.

      If You said: I'm Bill, the Tracker. Or, Tom the Medicine Man - that says quite a bit. It gives some meaning. Sure, it will obviously miss-out on Bill the father, or Bill the grandfather but we can;t explain our whole identity to anyone, anyway. We can't even explain it to ourselves, more often than not. Personally, I'll take whatever details I can get LOL

      "I think what you are doing is much more important than what Mr. Anal" - I'll take Bill the Farmer, over Mr. Anal anyday! LOL : )

      "I do not update my articles on HP" - Me neither. They're all master-pieces! Nothing to improve, haha!! I'm just goofing around but ya, I don;t care. It's not a "young man’s game and I’m not playing it."

      "I am 50,000 words into my new Shadow novel, and until yesterday I had no idea how the book was going to end." - See this was very, very interseting to read. I thought people who wrtie books have at least a general idea of where things go.

      I wrote half a piece of writing the other day and was going to put it on Hub-pages but then the second and last part is not yet written and I thought: "I can;t put up the first part when the second part is not yet written. What if I never write the second part?' LOL

      "my writing is the result of eighteen years of education and seventy years of living" - That's cool. My writing is 99.9% all the fault of Mr. Hunter S. Thompson. If it wasn;t for him, I might have never started writing. He was the one Being, beside my grade 12 English teacher who catapulted me into the writing hobby.

      "unless one is a horrible writer, in which case one probably shouldn’t share anything. lol" - There's a question: How does one know if they're a "horrible writer"?

      "I have read A LOT over the years" - I've heard that that's one of the keys to writing: reading tons.

      Alrighty, we made it! Thank You very much for your writing.

      Merry Christmas and all the very best for the New Year! : )

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 

      13 months ago from New York, New York

      Very busy day here. But just stopping in to wish you a very, Merry Christmas this week now, my friend!! :)


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