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The Writer's Mailbag: Installment 282

Updated on November 11, 2019

A Random, Bizarre Memory

I was ten, maybe eleven years old. I remember seeing a new toy in the Sears catalog that I just had to have. I don’t even remember what the toy was, but I do remember my happiness depended upon having it. I even went so far as to point it out to my dad, the same dad who had been about that age when the Great Depression began, the same dad who understood deprivation quite well.

He asked me why I wanted that toy so much, and I told him because it would make me happy.

His response?

“You can’t squeeze toothpaste out of a pimple, Bill!”

I’ll let you ponder those words of wisdom while I sort through this week’s mail.

The Mail Room!
The Mail Room!

The Switch

From Amos: “What do you think about switching genres? Do you think it helps a writer to grow, or should a writer just stick to one genre for ‘brand recognition’”?

You would think, Amos, that after five years of doing the Mailbag weekly, all possible questions about writing would have been asked, but here you proved that supposition incorrect. Interesting question, my friend, a first for the Mail Room.

I think a writer should do whatever the hell a writer wants to do.

How’s that for succinct?

If you have a hankering to dip your toes into the Romance genre after doing Mystery for years, I say go for it. You may not be any good at it, or you may be brilliant at it, but there is only one way to find out.

On the other hand, there is much to be said about brand recognition. A writer can become recognized for a particular style/brand of writing, and I think there are some advantages to continuing in one genre. There are also some rather famous cases of famous writers absolutely bombing when they switched genres, so be ready for whatever results come your way.

By the way, I’ve done this very thing, but I’m not famous, so it didn’t affect my meager sales at all.

Thanks for the question, Amos!

I've dabbled in several different genres over the years.
I've dabbled in several different genres over the years.

Guilt by Association

From Cheryl: “When you freelance, have you ever turned down a job because you didn’t want to be associated with a particular product?”

Yes I have, and it is a valid concern among freelancers, Cheryl. Many freelancers face this dilemma at some point in their career, and it can be tough starting out when you really need the money and you are trying to build a portfolio. I’m afraid this is a personal decision. I said no only once, and that was for a company which made automatic weapons. I just didn’t need the money that badly to tie onto that particular wagon.

It’s your call! How badly do you need the money? Are you willing to write about something you do not agree with to make a buck? Let’s say it is a Pro-Life website, and you are a Pro-Choice person . . . how badly do you need the money in that case? No one is going to know you are writing the content for that website. It is completely anonymous. Can you do it?

Fishy or Not Fishy?

From MizB: “Hi, Bill, I have a question for a future edition of your mailbag:


“Recently my articles have been attracting attention with some invitations from other writers and companies. There's one invitation that I intend to accept because it pays well and may be an opening for future opportunities. But that's not what I'm writing about.

“I've been solicited to do a book review on a book published by MT Publishing. They say the publisher can send me a hard copy or give me a link to the ebook. I looked up the book and it is quite pricy around ($40), so the author must have put some work or money, or both, into it. I'm sure you get these solicitations. What do you think of them? Is there any benefit to the reviewer at all except for getting a free copy of the book? Or is it a total waste of time to give a freebie like this? FYI, I've done a couple of book reviews on HubPages on books I've enjoyed reading, but none were solicited.

“The paying opportunity I mentioned was because the company read my sock hop hub and believes that I have something to offer them. This book-review solicitation also mentions they found me through my sock hop hub. That's two solicitations from that one hub. What gives? Is someone selling a list of HP writers or something? I guess I'm just suspicious of two solicitations on one (several-years old) hub.

“So, I guess I have two questions. Thanks,”

Well shoot, MizB, now you’ve got me curious. I looked up MT Publishing. They have been around since 1986 and they mostly publish historical volumes, heavy on police and firefighter exploits. I don’t have much in the way of sleuthing skills. The company seems to be legit, and there is certainly nothing strange about them offering a book to you for a review. That stuff is done all the time. My hesitancy lies in the paying invitation. I’m always skeptical about offers like that and, unfortunately, the only way to know if they are legit is to write an article for them and then find out if they actually pay you for it. In other words, that is a crapshoot. You may roll a winner; you may roll snake eyes.

I can think of no benefit to you at all for doing the review. In my humble opinion your time can be spent in a more fruitful way, but that’s just my opinion. As for HP selling a list of writers, it wouldn’t shock me if they did, but most likely companies like MT just check out other writing sites and “discover” writers from those sites. I can snuggle up to a conspiracy theory with the best of them (no way Lee Harvey Oswald pulled off that assassination by himself), but in this case I just don’t think it is terribly sinister.

And yes, I get those offers all the time, and I quickly hit delete upon receiving them.

Thanks for the questions, MizB!

How Much Will I Make?

From Robert: “I’m thinking of giving freelancing a try. How much can I expect to make from freelance writing gigs?”

Tough question, Robert! It shouldn’t be, right? It should be pretty straightforward, and it was, once upon a time, in a galaxy far, far away, but no longer. There are freelance writers coming out of the woodwork, I’m afraid, and in a world of Supply & Demand, that kind of supply is going to affect the price structure.

You can get paid $20 for a 500 word article. You can also get paid $100 for the same article. You can grab up ten content gigs in a week, or one. There are just too many factors which play into it these days, making your question impossible to answer.

Being realistic, if you do everything correctly and market your butt off, plan on making $100 or less in a week; I’m trying to be negatively realistic here; you might make more, but I don’t want you planning on it.

Good luck! It’s a tough market out there for freelancers these days.

Don't quit your day job for freelancing!
Don't quit your day job for freelancing!

Difficult Accents

From Lori: “Hi Bill, I am writing a novel as you know. One of the main characters is a Chinese doctor. I have been writing his accent except for the r issue because it's just too difficult and people don't need the distraction. I was talking to a friend today and told her I wanted the accent to be authentic and consistent and then we got to talking about if it would be offensive to chinese people or others. In this stupid world now everything is offensive and racist. But the character is intelligent . Do you think I can pull it off without the accent? I find it part of his endearing charm but I'm thinking of only referring to his accent once in a while. I would be interested in hearing from your readers also. Thanks so much.”

Honestly, Lori, and this is just me, but I would skip the accent simply because it would be such a difficult thing to do…but that’s just me. I’ll be interested to see if anyone else has an opinion. I would tend to mention early on that he was Chinese with a thick accent and leave it at that…again, that’s just the way I would handle it . . . in no way am I saying that’s what you should do.

Toothpaste and Pimples

Did you figure it out? My family had a non-stop supply of old sayings like that one. No wonder I have a rather bizarre sense of humor.

That’s all for this week! Thanks a bunch for joining us in the Mail Room, and hopefully we’ll see you again next Monday. Until then, have a stupendous week of creativity, and remember to always act from a deep pool of love.

2019 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

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    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      LOL...Sis, you are a joy!

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 

      2 weeks ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      OUCH!,,,,Damn, Bro...it hurts to bite your tongue! Why do I always do what you tell me to do??! Old habits dies hard!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Bite your tongue, Sis! No way do I find the time to put this all together in a Mailbag book. It's lovely of you to suggest it, but even when we were kids you were always trying to make more work for me. I finally figured out your devilish games. :)

      Happy Thanksgiving dear friend!

      love,

      Bro

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 

      2 weeks ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Installment 282! You are a man of dedication and consistency!! I actually thought of a question for #283 !!.....Have you any plans in that busy head of yours to reach, say....maybe #300.....and then put them altogether into a wonderful "Free-lance Writer's Teaching" book?...or Beginner;s Guide to Aspiring Writers? Has someone already asked this question?

      In any case....always a positive experience, Bro.....especially when you include memories of growing up! Wishing you and Bev and crew, a very nice Thanksgiving. I'm drooling already! You too? Love ya, Sis

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Nithya! I'm happy you found something of value in this installment.

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 

      3 weeks ago from Dubai

      An interesting and informative Writer's Mailbag Installment. Sticking to one genre can bring recognition but maybe one can experiment to test the waters and see how things go,

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you very much, Devika!

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      3 weeks ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Informative and a lot to be learned from your knowledge of writing and you helped inform us on many questions asked.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Brenda! I appreciate you taking the time to comment, and for your kind words.

    • Brenda Arledge profile image

      BRENDA ARLEDGE 

      3 weeks ago from Washington Court House

      Bill,

      It's been awhile since I read your work.

      You are still knocking it out of the park. Your writing is unique and interesting.

      I enjoyed all of it...especially the one on genres. I do think we should try anything we want too. Life only comes around once...might as well try.

      Thank you for being the voice of answers behind the questions.

      Great write.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      That's just amazing, Zulma. I cannot imagine what it must have been like living in Western Europe during WW2. The uncertainty and fear must have been overwhelming at times.

      Happy Thursday my friend

      bill

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Exactly right, Shannon! It's my attempt at immortality through the written word. lol

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 

      3 weeks ago from United Kingdom

      Bill, I'm sure you would have. Much like your father, she grew up during a time of deprivation. She was one of 6 or 7 children growing up in London during WWII. There was little money to be had and rationing was a way of life and nothing was wasted. She knew what it was like to want but was grateful for what they did have. Now that I think about it, it would explain her passion for bargains. Buy one get one free was like a dream come true for her and she was all in.

      We still laugh over her collection of shampoos, toothpaste and deodorants that cluttered her bathroom. Her crowning achievement, however, was the four cases of baked beans in her utility room. Priceless.

      Have a great day, Bill.

    • shanmarie profile image

      Shannon Henry 

      3 weeks ago from Texas

      Well, I meant to say that I'll try to go wipe that image out of my head "now", but "not" works just as well, I suppose! EW!!! I guess that's one way to make sure someone remembers you. ;)

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Zulma and I'm happy to hear you are recovering. I would have liked that lady for sure. Whining in our house was not tolerated, and I'm happy for it.

      Happy Hump Day my friend!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Worth much more than two cents, William, and I thank you for it.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Shannon, give it up! You'll never be able ti wipe that image from your head. You'll think of it every single time you use toothpaste, and you'll have me to thank for it. lol You are welcome!

      As for reviews, thanks for your thoughts and experience. That's what this Mailbag thing is all about.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Well Heidi I'm only one day late in responding to your comment, so I figure we are even. :)

      Thanks for you input. I skip the review things. Not that I have anything against it, but priorities, you know.

      As for switching genres, been there, done that, and I'll do it again soon. I follow my muse.

      Have a warm week, my friend!

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 

      3 weeks ago from United Kingdom

      Whenever my kids whined about 'really, really wanting (fill in the blank)', their grandmother invariably responded, 'Then you know what it is to want.' I don't they understood but it made me smile. She was a clever one. If they quit nagging about it, there was a 50/50 chance they would get it as a Christmas or birthday present.

      Thanks for the well wishes. Between the aspirin and honey & lemon tea, I'm improving. Which reminds me, time to brew another batch.

      Have a good day, Bill. See you on our next walk.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Not a word from me, Ann! lol

      bill

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Same comment, same response, Nell. :)

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Nell! I wonder how many things of value I've deleted by accident? lol

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      3 weeks ago from Central Florida

      Well, I'm not going to try to remember everything I wrote, but I will comment on your dad's humorous, yet gross response to the reason you HAD to have that toy. Basically, you can't get blood from a turnip.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Sha, your earlier one never came through. :(

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 

      3 weeks ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Hi, Bill. More good questions and more good answers. I'm thinking about Lori's question concerning accents. I remember a series she did on HP (may be the same one), where she gave a character a Chinese accent. For me, I thought it made the scene more authentic and believable. Just my opinion. I'd have a hard time picturing a person Speaking Chinese without the accent, just as I think they would have a difficult time writing about an American but sounding Chinese. Just my two-cent opinion. Thanks for another great mailbag.

    • shanmarie profile image

      Shannon Henry 

      3 weeks ago from Texas

      Bill, Bill, Bill. . .Can you see me shaking my head at you? Why? Well, I just didn't need the quite literal image of your toothpaste and pimple metaphor in my head. A few minutes ago, I was craving a snack. Now, not so much.

      But the questions are good ones. I haven't done a lot of book reviews, but with the music reviews I get sent...I can say that there isn't anything in them for me, at least not monetarily. I get free CDs sometimes or early access to singles and/or albums for review purposes. (Actually, I can say that book review requests are much the same, now that I think about it. I just haven't taken as many people up on that thus far.) Besides the free "merchandise", if I publish here on HP or on my own website the opportunity for money exists through website traffic and the ad money earned. There's potential, but it's kind of a catch 22 for the time investment required to make a more worthwhile profit. So I mostly do it just because I enjoy it.

      Alright, enough of my rambling and I'll go try to wipe that image out of my head not. LOL...Have a good one.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 

      4 weeks ago from SW England

      Thanks, bill, though I fear we are in for a few days of the same. Never mind! We're warm inside and can weather the storm.

      (Don't tell him, but it was funny!)

      Ann

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      4 weeks ago from Central Florida

      Have you approved all the incoming comments, Bill?

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Ann, I'm laughing about the rubbish. I'm sorry for laughing, but the site of your other half chasing papers in the wind is humorous on this side of the pond. :)

      Quick answer to your question: yes! I'll elaborate on Monday.

      Until then, wishing for you a calmer Wednesday, although that may be a bit too much to hope for in November in SW England. :)

      bill

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      It is a bummer, Sha,and it is happening often on HP. Darn it!

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      4 weeks ago from Central Florida

      Hmmm. I posted a long comment yesterday. Now I don't see it. Bummer!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Mel! I only take on freelance work which I enjoy doing. It's nice to be in that position financially. I would hate to write too many articles on a brand of arthritis medicine. :)

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm happy you'll be thinking of that comment for a long time, Linda. No reason it should haunt just me. lol

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm glad you liked it, Bill! Thanks for always being here. Have a great week!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Venkatachari M...I suspect that is what he meant with that saying. At least that is the way I interpreted it at the time.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Zulma, I never knew for sure. He either meant you can't get happiness out of an object, or I couldn't get blood out of a turnip, meaning he didn't have the money for such nonsense.

      Whatever his meaning, his words stay with me.

      Feel better soon, my friend!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      It's a strange new world out there, Flourish, with the internet ruling the way we communicate and contact each other. I'm sure there are many ways companies can identify certain "customers" simply from our online profiles.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Very true, Meg! My son tried the same line on me many times, and thankfully I never fell for it.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Great example, Becky! Made me think of a show on television called Firefly. It was a sci-fi western that I loved. :)

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Mr. Happy, I'll be laughing about that 240 joke the rest of the day. Thanks for that!

      I'm bad at math too, so you have "good" company in not following my math example.

      Snow? We do not want it, thank you very much. Luckily, storms do not travel east to west, so we are safe from your weather experiences. :)

      Peace and thanks, my friend!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Mary! It's always interesting to hear anecdotes like that one about Park Hotel. Language barriers can be so difficult.

    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 

      4 weeks ago from Chicago Area

      Hey, I'm only 1 day late to this Mailbag! Things are getting back to sort-of normal.

      Re: Switching Genres. Lots of writers want to test their writing mettle and go for other genres. There's nothing wrong with that except for, as you note, the author branding issues. And that's a big one. It can get very risky when your alternate genre is way far afield of your regular one, or even in conflict with it. I saw a story about a YA (young adult) author who also wrote erotic fiction under a pen name. She was disinvited as a speaker to a YA conference because there was concern about her work with the adult market. I question how her work will continue to be received in the YA scene. I've addressed these issues in some of my posts and such on self publishing. Look before you leap because once it's in the market, you can't take it back, and it could have consequences for your publishing future.

      Re: Guilt by Association. Yep, have turned down work that doesn't align with my values. And if I'm asked for an opinion on something that I don't think is a wise move for authors, I'm not shy about telling them so.

      Re: Fishy Reviews. Well, editorial reviews are often paid. But the key word is "editorial." Those cannot be posted on Amazon as "customer" reviews since it would be a violation of terms. Editorial reviews are posted in a separate area on the book product page via the author's or publisher's Author Central account. However, in this case, I'd decline that offer.

      Well, gotta run. Have a great week!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm happy to hear that, Kari! Thanks so much for the kind words.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Eric, reconciling just might be for stronger men than me. :) I have a hunch you are doing quite well, my friend.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      I appreciate you stopping by, James. Thanks for the comment.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      4 weeks ago from England

      Toothpaste and pimples, love the metaphor! And yes I always press delete with those online things, unless you get paid upfront! lol! Great help as always, thanks Bill.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      We may never know for sure, Manatita, but it is an entertaining saying, don't you think? lol

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      4 weeks ago from England

      Toothpaste and pimples, love the metaphor! And yes I always press delete with those online things, unless you get paid upfront! lol! Great help as always, thanks Bill.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 

      4 weeks ago from SW England

      Never come across that saying, bill! All I can think of, is that it's equivalent of 'money doesn't grow on trees' or similar?

      Yes another great mailbag. That switching genre question was interesting. I suppose we all like to experiment but I'd keep most of those to myself unless I thought I'd done an exceptional job! Each to his own and all that.

      Have you ever had critical reviews (and I don't mean constructive criticism but the unkind sort)? If so, do you take any notice? Do they make you feel bad? I would think they'd hurt but is it possible to just ignore them? I can't imagine anyone would be horrible to you but there are some nasty people out there.

      It's a very blustery Tuesday here, so much so that the rubbish bin got blown over and half our rubbish ended up in our neighbours' gardens! Great fun paper-chasing all over the road and people's drives - not me though, my lovely other half!

      Have a terrific, tasty Tuesday, bill!

      Ann

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 

      4 weeks ago from United Kingdom

      Toothpaste from a pimple? I can honestly say I've never heard the like of this before. I kinda, sort of get where your Dad was going with this...but not really. I've got a virus that's taken up residence in my throat so I'm not at my best right now. Please have mercy and explain this unique saying. Pleeease.

      You have a great day, Bill.

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 

      4 weeks ago from Hyderabad, India

      That was an interesting (but strange to me) saying from your father. I hope he meant that you can't get the true happiness from the purchase of a single doll. Happiness comes from a greater thing than all of such temporary things.

      This week's mailbag is full of many unique and interesting questions. Enjoyed much and improving my knowledge gradually.

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 

      4 weeks ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Bill. Can’t say I’ve ever heard the toothpaste out of a pimple saying. Interesting. It was a very good week for the mailbag with some great answers.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      4 weeks ago from British Columbia, Canada

      It's always interesting to see questions and answers that haven't appeared in the Mailbag before. I'll be thinking about your father's toothpaste comment for a long time!

    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 

      4 weeks ago from San Diego California

      Your quote from your Father made me chuckle. I didn't quite get it, but I intend to pour some brain power into it.

      As for freelancing for slave wages, I say I find writing fun. It is the one thing in my life that seems to give it meaning and put me in a hypnotic state of contentment, better than any booze or drugs could. If I had to suppress the flow of my own words to conform to some dreary, lifeless article on can openers, for instance, all for a few bucks, I would say there are better ways to make a few pennies than that.

      Keep up the excellent work.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 

      4 weeks ago from USA

      I really enjoyed this edition. The quote reminded me of my great grandparents who always had funny sayings that made you think. I’m glad you turned down the gig that you didn’t believe in value-wise. I’m not sure anyone is selling lists of writer but I do think certain people look for niche writers and our names come up. I get contacted repeatedly for unusual requests in the medical industry and music industry, legit but doesn’t mean they all interest me.

    • DreamerMeg profile image

      DreamerMeg 

      4 weeks ago from Northern Ireland

      Love that saying about no toothpaste from a pimple! I see a lot of others liked it too - it seems to have struck a chord. If I had told my grandmother that I really, really wanted something, she would have told me, "Then want must be your master". One of my sons, if he wanted a new toy would have used the "All I ever wanted was ..." technique. Of course, once he had it, there was something else that was "all he ever wanted".

    • Becky Katz profile image

      Becky Katz 

      4 weeks ago from Hereford, AZ

      I got the toothpaste from a pimple. You can't find happiness from an object. You have to find another way to happiness.

      I had a friend that used to write as Ghostwriter on here. He wrote a lot of scifi. He got a challenge to write a western, from Will Starr on here. He ended up writing very good westerns, and even published one. I liked his westerns much more than his scifi, and I like scifi. After seeing that, I have to go for try it, you may love it.

    • Mr. Happy profile image

      Mr. Happy 

      4 weeks ago from Toronto, Canada

      “You can’t squeeze toothpaste out of a pimple" - For me it was: "Nu poti sa scoati apa din piatra", which means "You can't squeeze water out of a rock." lol

      "It’s your call! How badly do you need the money?" - No!! No ... haha ... Morals first, money after. I'll slice my own throat before I spend a penny at Wallmart: never have, never will. Just a quick example but ya, I'll starve before I step on Morality.

      It was interesting to read: "You may roll a winner; you may roll snake eyes" and right after came, "I can think of no benefit to you at all for doing the review." That was a little odd because the first part basically said: You have a fifty-fifty chance but in the second part You said there's "no benefit". That left me scratching my head because if there's a 50/50 chance of success then, there's a 50/50 chance for "benefit", no? I don't know ... I'm not great at math.

      "$100 or less in a week" - How much time spent on writing though? You're not saying like 8 hours a day each day for a week gets You $100, right? 'cause that's like less than starving wages, I'd say.

      As soon as I read "Difficult Accents" and "Chinese", I remembered an experience in the first year in Canada. Wanted to buy some oranges and there was no price that I could see so, I asked the Chinese lady running the store: "How much for the oranges?"

      Haha!! That memory is always going to be funny. I didn't speak English properly and neither did the lady so, I couldn't understand the answer I got: "Fo fo one." Haha ... ohh man, it took us a long time to understand each other. It basically came down to fingers and signs LOL But ya, they were: four oranges for one dollar.

      Here's a joke and I am going to type it out as I did to my friend (without typing-out the accent) and he didn't get the joke. I think You might get it. Here's the joke:

      "Why can't the Irish man have more than 239 beans?

      Because one more would be 240." LOL Haha .. this one is forever funny for me as well. Nowadays, all I have to say to my buddy is "240" and he dies laughing.

      Okay, enough of me. You have a good one and thank You for sharing yhour thoughts in writing. Cheers! (And we have an excess of snow at the moment - gonna send it your way, since You seem to lack it lol)

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      4 weeks ago from Ontario, Canada

      First time I've heard of that saying, Bill. He made the point to you, though. Anyway, about accents. I agree with your suggestion. It is hard to do this because those who come from that culture don't think they spoke that way. That's how you heard it. I used to get upset with my husband when we overnighted in Hong Kong which was the usual travel at that time. He would tell the taxi driver, Pak Hotel for Park Hotel. But then, the driver understood him not when we said Park hotel. Still, coming from Asia, I did not like it.

    • k@ri profile image

      Kari Poulsen 

      4 weeks ago from Ohio

      I think your father was a wise man. I'll remember that saying, lol. I am glad that you continue to write these articles. I love reading them.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      4 weeks ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Disgusting. I just tried it and it was nasty. I think take things to literally ;-)

      I don't mean about thick skin so much but I do not want to lose my sensitivity So I write a sensitive peace. I just can't lose that part. But I have to to publish. Damned hard reconciling. Oh well, just meandering of thought.

    • justthemessenger profile image

      James C Moore 

      4 weeks ago from The Great Midwest

      I see your dad's point with respect to toothpaste coming out of a pimple and you getting that toy. As always good answers to questions I may have asked if someone else didn't. Kat Theo's video was helpful too.

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 

      4 weeks ago from london

      Tough one, that pimple thing. Now you've got me. Perhaps it was his way of saying how broke he was. He could not give you, what he did not have.

      Some deep questions this week, like your dad's statement. Hehe. Keep going Bro. Peace.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      I appreciated the question, MizB, so thank you. Good decision about waiting until you are fully recovered. Fro a purely selfish standpoint, I want you around for a very long time.

      Toothpaste from a pimple....my weird outlook on life had its origins, for sure, in my childhood. lol

      Have a brilliant week, my friend.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks, Lori, and best of luck with that accent decision and with NANO! I'll get to your other question next Monday.

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      Doris James MizBejabbers 

      4 weeks ago from Beautiful South

      "Toothpaste from a pimple?" Never heard that one, thank goodness, and I thought we had some corny sayings in Arkansas! Anyway, thanks for answering my question, Bill. I don't think I'll waste my time on reading and reviewing a book that does not interest me. But on the paying gig, I've checked them out, and they are a large academic educational company and very legit. I'm honored to be solicited to do a podcast for them. However, I'll have to ask them to postpone it until I recover completely from this illness because it will take a lot of effort and research.

      Temp is dropping like a rock today, and down in the 20s and teens tonight. Snow in the northern part of our state predicted, hopefully not this far south. I think we may have to turn on the heat in our underground house tonight. It was a nice high 60s day yesterday. Boo hoo. Stay warm my friend.

    • lambservant profile image

      Lori Colbo 

      4 weeks ago from Pacific Northwest

      Haha Bill, the toothpaste pimple quip sounds like something you would say. I see where you got some of your talent from. Thanks for the answer about the accent. I think you are right and it would sure make it easier for me. Shout out to Melissa for trying NANOWRIMO. I'm doing it to. Best of luck.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      It is always my pleasure, Ruby! Loved your story about Christmas. You and cowgirl boots, I would love to see it! :)

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Denise, I love it! Hogan's goat??? That is one I'll have to do some research on. It has me smiling on this gray morning.

      Blessings to you always

      bill

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Nikki! Yes, I understood what my father was saying, but perhaps only because I grew up listening to him constantly. Thank you for the suggestion on language....very good!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Mary! I hope you are enjoying your Brazilian weather while we suffocate under the gray clouds. :)

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Happy Monday to you, Chitrangada Sharan! I always appreciate you stopping by for a comment. Best wishes this week, my friend.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Great suggestion, Devika, and I thank you for it.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Very true, John, and I found it to be a fun and challenging exercise. I highly recommend it for any writer.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Pamela! I make about a third of what I once made at HP, but I love it here nevertheless. This is where the cool kids play.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      What a great gift for your hubby, Linda! Have a great time, and tell him, for me,thank you for his service.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Sorry about the comment disappearing, Melissa. That happens quite often lately on HP and I don't know why.

      Best wishes with NANO,and stay cozy and warm during the Deep Freeze.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      I've always loved that saying, Janine. So graphic! It's hard to not smile at that one.

      Thank you always dear friend!

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      4 weeks ago from Southern Illinois

      I haven't heard of that quote, Toothpaste Out Of A Pimple, but I have heard, You Can't Get Blood Out Of A Turnip. I remember when I was around 10 I wanted a pair of cowgirl boots out of a catalog. I showed it to my mama and she told me that she couldn't afford it, on Christmas morning there they were. I was a happy camper. Good questions and answers. Thanks for all you do to help others.

    • PAINTDRIPS profile image

      Denise McGill 

      4 weeks ago from Fresno CA

      Quite a few interesting questions this week. I'm with you. I don't trust unsolicited offers anymore. I just delete them. And I could be deleting a money-making venture or a headache. I always lean toward avoiding the headache. My dad had some funny and unusual sayings too. Everything seemed to be "by Hogan's goat". He got there by Hogan's goat etc. He never could tell me who Hogan was or what his goat had to do with anything.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • nikkikhan10 profile image

      Nikki Khan 

      4 weeks ago from London

      Thanks Bill for this wonderful mailbag episode!

      Your Father’s saying seems quite interesting. Did you understand it, when he answered you this?

      On Lori, I would rather skip the language saying: ‘Though he is Chinese, but he spent a good long time in learning English or whatever language. He is more eager to speak English rather than his native one now.’

      Readers would understand it, and gonna enjoy it more as it won’t interfere with the flow of storyline.

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 

      4 weeks ago from Brazil

      "Toothpaste from a pimple", oh my goodness. I haven't heard that one before.

      Switching genres can be tricky, perhaps that is one of the times an author will use a pen name.

      Interesting questions this week.

      Have a wonderful week.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 

      4 weeks ago from New Delhi, India

      Happy Monday Bill!

      Another edition enriching us with interesting questions and answers.

      Loved the quote or the words of wisdom by your father, in the opening paragraph.

      Thank you and have a great week.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      4 weeks ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Informative and writers have it tough in freelancing it is competitive and sometimes scams are the reason for disappointments. I learned that research freelance companies to get right with the whole working online ideas.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      4 weeks ago from Queensland Australia

      “Squeezing toothpaste from a pimple” I guess has a similar meaning as “getting blood from a stone,” which my dad said you couldn’t do. Good advice on all the questions once again. Speaking of genre switching..you don’t know if you never try.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      4 weeks ago from Sunny Florida

      Hello Bill. I have never heard the toothpaste and pimple saying, and I thought I had heard them all. I have done some freelancing and if you work you can earn some money I found it to be a hassle for the amount I was earning. Obviously, Hubpages does not pay as well as it use to, but I like it here.

      This article has an interesting array of topics today, all interesting. Have a wonderful week, Bill.

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 

      4 weeks ago from Washington State, USA

      Happy Monday Bill. This is always a nice way to begin the week. I'm taking Mr. Carb to a brewpub tonight for a Veterans' Day dinner (he's Vietnam era) and to watch his beloved Seahawks. Have a great week.

    • mpropp profile image

      Melissa Propp 

      4 weeks ago from Minnesota

      Happy Monday Bill! Let's try this again, last week my comments didn't post for some reason...

      Toothpaste from a pimple? That just gives me a visual that I don't want in my head! LOL

      I've heard of people struggling for years to write in a particular genre and then decide to try something different and suddenly it all "clicks". Of course, as you mentioned, it can be the exact opposite. I'm attempting to do NANOWRIMO this year, so getting up an hour earlier before work to squeeze in some writing. I'll never make the 50k, but hopefully it will help me get in a more constructive writing pattern. And its freezing outside (only 14 today!), so that always helps with outside distractions...

      Hope you have a great and productive week!

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 

      4 weeks ago from New York, New York

      Aw, totally was smiling at your quote as it must have been a generational things as my grandparents of a similar generation to your parents had their own sayings/quotes, as well. So, definitely brought me back and had me thinking a bit about that here. But now wishing you a very Happy Monday and week ahead, too :)

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