Updated date:

The Writer's Mailbag: Installment 234

Time Marches On

I never know what I’m going to say in these introductions until Friday morning when I finally have time to answer the questions. I just assume my muse has pondered the task which lies ahead, and she will handle it when it is time.

Four-and-a-half years . . . that’s how long I’ve been doing the Mailbag. During that time a couple friends have died, I found out who my biological family was (all dead), and quite a few acquaintances have also died. Now before you start thinking I’m obsessed with death, let me assure you I am not. But it’s a bit strange, this “getting older” thing. It’s strange being the “last man standing,” as it were. All family dead, most of my childhood friends dead, so many of the entertainers and musicians I grew up with dead . . . and here I sit, in my little writing studio, still kicking out words and feeling like I’m twenty instead of seventy.

It’s just strange!

I don’t sit and ponder the why me of it all. It’s just the way the pickle squirts, as my dad was fond of saying. “Them’s the breaks, Billy Boy, some are born today, some die, and the rest of us are killing time until it’s our turn.”

Dad was partially right. Them’s the breaks, but I’m not killing time. I’m busier than I’ve ever been and loving every minute of it, so let’s get this Mailbag thing going.

Welcome to the Mail Room!

Welcome to the Mail Room!

Short Story Success

From Ann: “For that short story question: would it not work if one published a book on a theme and had short stories around that theme, with some sort of link like a character or a place? So it could be a novel in disguise... What do you think? I've only just had that idea and I think I might use it myself!! Where did it come from? My muse of course! Seriously, though, is it workable? Sort of an easy way to create chapters!”

Ann, it is not only workable, but I’ve seen it done by several of our HP friends. Heck, I actually did that with my second novel, “Resurrecting Tobias.” Probably 30% of that novel is pieced-together short stories I had written for HP. I just glued them together into a story line and published it. Easy-peasy! Not really, but it sounds easy now, four years later.

Yes, Ann, your idea has merit and I think you should follow your own advice.

Chris, you are the one who originally asked that question. Are you listening?

Publishing novellas is one possible solution...my Billy the Kid series worked well for me; they were all slightly larger than a short story.

Publishing novellas is one possible solution...my Billy the Kid series worked well for me; they were all slightly larger than a short story.

When Is Criticism Valid?

From Mary: “Which leads me to a question. How do you know if a criticism of your writing is valid?”

This appears to be such a simple little question, but it is packed with angst and hurt feelings. Lol

I do think that getting someone else to critique your work, especially a novel, before publishing is very helpful. The problem arises, however, regarding the validity of the critique. Most of us ask this same question. If you have friends and family read it, and they don’t want to hurt your feelings, they most likely will not give you an honest critique. And what about those negative critiques? Are we willing to listen to them with our hurt feelings?

Mary, there are quite a few writer groups online where members are invited and encouraged to share their works. After the sharing, members then critique the works. My opinion: if you hear the same thing from several of those members, there is a good chance you should pay attention. The beauty of those online “critique clubs) is that they are comprised of strangers who have no agenda regarding your writing. They are there to share, and receive, honest feedback and as such can probably be trusted more than friends and family.

That’s my two-cents worth on that matter.

Does anyone enjoy criticism?

Does anyone enjoy criticism?

Other Writing Sites

From Rodric: “Okay, not to be a hog here, but I do have another question. I am trying to expand my writing past Hubpages. I have checked out several writing sites, looking for ANOTHER Hubpages! I, of course, cannot find one. What would you recommend as a way to expand?”

Your timing is bad, Rodric! At one time, about five years ago, there were quite a few options similar to HP. Most of them, however, have fallen by the wayside. There are a couple I’ll mention, though, so you don’t feel like I’m ignoring your question.

Try the Writers Café . . . writerscafe.org I think . . . you might like what they have to offer. And there is also a group made up of HP writers called The Creative Exiles. Check them out, all good people, many friends of mine and an easy site to post on. I’m sure they would love to have a new member.

And, of course, I’m sure someone will have another suggestion in the comments section below.

Those Pesky Links and Hp

From Rodric: “Another question: Each time I write an article in a series where I want to guide the reader to another article with a link at the end or in the beginning, my article is unfeatured on Hubpages. I wrote two articles yesterday that became featured when I removed the link. I have literally over 200 articles with links that are not unfeatured for the same reason. How do I keep my articles featured when they are part of a series? Do I need to recap each article previously and leave off the link or is there some other way? I am starting to believe it may be certain moderators who dislike linking because again, most articles are featured with the link.”

Rodric, I’m afraid you aren’t going to be very happy with my answer. I don’t link on my articles simply because it was such a hassle, early on, trying to do it correctly that I just gave up. Besides, I don’t much care. Lol Seriously, this is just not on my give-a-damn meter.

That is not to discount your concerns, but rather to tell you I understand your frustration. I found this video for you to check out, and I have no doubt someone will help you in the comment section, but linking is not my strong suit on HP.

The whole featured/not featured thing has me totally confused, so I tend to not pay much attention to it all. I just write. If they want to feature my work, fine. If not, also fine with me. That’s just how I rock n roll, my friend.

Sorry I can’t be more help. Hopefully someone will have a good answer down below.

More Lyrics From Fogelberg

I’m all done, so let’s enjoy a master songwriter and some more of his beautiful lyrics. This is from Dan Fogelberg and his song “Leader of the Band:”

A quiet man of music
Denied a simpler fate
He tried to be a soldier once
But his music wouldn't wait
He earned his love
Through discipline
A thundering, velvet hand
His gentle means of sculpting souls
Took me years to understand

[Chorus:]
The leader of the band is tired
And his eyes are growing old
But his blood runs through my instrument
And his song is in my soul
My life has been a poor attempt
To imitate the man
I'm just a living legacy
To the leader of the band

Have a great week!

2018 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

Comments

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on January 11, 2019:

Happy New Year to you, Lawrence. Be careful not to get a sunburn! lol I'm jealous!

Lawrence Hebb from Hamilton, New Zealand on January 10, 2019:

Bill

Just sat here at the moment, trying to stay out of the sun and enjoy the mailbag.

If I was Roderic I wouldn't worry about links too much as HP tends to put links to similar articles at the end of a hub anyway, and besides people can always find them through our author pages.

Just my thoughts.

Four and a half years writing the mailbag, well done bro.

And happy new year.

Lawrence

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on December 26, 2018:

Thank you Devika! I appreciate that.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on December 26, 2018:

Bill Holland, your points are helpful and shared with an open mind.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on December 17, 2018:

I know, Rodric! I get that completely, and that probably explains one reason why I have never ventured away from HP for long.

Rodric Anthony Johnson from Surprise, Arizona on December 16, 2018:

Bill, this site love you! I am going to speak for all of us on that! I am addicted to Hubpages because I still have not felt the urge to post on the other sites, though I've joined. It is so hard starting over from scratch. I feel like a little kid going to a new school. "I hope they will like me."

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on December 14, 2018:

Sean, that was seriously a very kind thing for you to say. Thank you so much. Truth is I love this site and I love the community. I was raised to give back; it just seems natural to me that we would all want to help each other, to be welcoming to each other....we all need to listen the angels of our better nature. :) Peace be with you my friend.

bill

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on December 14, 2018:

Heidi, you are always on schedule in the Mail Room. You should know that by now. The door is unlocked and I'll leave the light on for ya. :) I completely agree about HP. This is their site. They are trying to make money, and they understand Google much better than I do. I just stay quiet and accept the changes.

Ioannis Arvanitis from Greece, Almyros on December 13, 2018:

My dear brother, Bill, after I have read your Mailbags, I've ended up to a strange conclusion. I believe that the most of the lovely people who write to you doing that not for the answers --which are always right to the point-- but for the feeling of this positive energy they take from you! It is amazing how positive aura exists in your Hubs! It's like I can write to Bob Dylan and ask him about poetry and he --himself-- is answering back to me like a friend or better! Thank you for this feeling, my brother. Thank you for serving a higher kind of communication! Thank you for being a cornerstone of this community of Love!

Gratitude!

Sean

Heidi Thorne from Chicago Area on December 13, 2018:

Happy Thursday! Yes, Thursday. Anyway...

Re: Criticism. I think we need to make a distinction between "criticism" and "critique." What an editor (or other unbiased third party) would provide is a critique, which is an analysis of the elements of the manuscript. Criticism is what you normally get from family and friends, many of whom are completely unqualified to evaluate your work.

Agreed, get some outside evaluation whether you hire someone or reach out to a writers' critique club as you noted. You'll save a lot of heartache.

Re: HubPages Alternatives. The other content sites that I think are getting the most attention these days are Medium and Patreon. Medium is a site where readers pay a monthly subscription fee for the content. Patreon is a bit more entrepreneurial where the author or content creator sets the subscription fee for readers. While, in theory, I like the concept, in practice, I think they are challenging since people are used to reading content for free.

Re: HP Links. I've had a few hubs edited for links, too. Frankly, I don't care. It's HP's site. I'll go along with it because they are doing this to improve their Google-friendliness which helps us all.

Well, maybe next week I'll get back on schedule. But can't make any promises. Got another edit job that needs to be done by next week. Priorities.

Have a great weekend!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on December 13, 2018:

I'm so happy that is something you might be able to use, MizB. Let me know what comes of it.....and say howdy to those hens of yours. :)

Doris James MizBejabbers from Beautiful South on December 12, 2018:

Wow, Bill, about my hook question. Start the ending at the beginning and use it as the hook. I've already done that! I think I wrote it into the introduction or as a preface. I Just didn't know I could use it as the hook. Thanks my friend. This mailbag is a valuable asset to all of us, you know. (And thanks for answering my chicken question. I didn't know that.)

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on December 12, 2018:

I really appreciate those kind words, Rajan! Thank you so very much, my friend.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on December 12, 2018:

Thanks Linda! One thing I do not understand is boredom. There's just no reason to be bored if you have any awareness at all.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on December 12, 2018:

Thank you Flourish! I plan on doing exactly that. They will have to pry my pen from my cold, dead fingers. lol

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on December 12, 2018:

Thank you John! I fell in love with Fogelberg's lyrics way back in the early 70's. I think the man was a genius at songwriting. Still so timely! As for Creative Exiles, you are very welcome. I find you site to be very welcoming; even though I can't seem to make time to be active there. I'm sure Rodric will love it.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on December 12, 2018:

Moving on can be liberating, Rodric! lol Good luck!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on December 12, 2018:

Again, thank you Rodric!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on December 12, 2018:

Glad to hear it, Rodric! Let me know what you think of those other sites...and thank you for caring so much about the art of writing.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on December 12, 2018:

Distress indeed, Mr. Happy! You had me laughing about the purple poo....great idea if I understood Photoshop. lol As for featuring my work, I guess it comes down to what is important for the writer. My goal in writing was never to be featured by HP, so no worries!

enjoy that breakfast!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on December 12, 2018:

I'm glad, Rinita! Thank you!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on December 12, 2018:

That's the problem,William, nobody seems to know what the problem is. lol It is a HP mystery!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on December 12, 2018:

I love you attitude, Alyssa! That's exactly how I handle it as well. Thank you and I hope your week is splendid.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on December 12, 2018:

It certainly is not easy for me, Pamela! I have thin skin when it comes to my writings.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on December 12, 2018:

Thank you Nithya....and Dan Fogelberg thanks you as well. :)

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on December 12, 2018:

Thank you Brian! You are appreciated.

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on December 12, 2018:

Bill, you know what? A heart full of love and a mind ready to help others anytime is a recipe for good health. No wonder you are healthy. Stay blessed!

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on December 11, 2018:

I'm glad you're busy, Bill. That's nearly always better than the alternative. I hope you have a productive week.

FlourishAnyway from USA on December 11, 2018:

Bill, being the last one standing sure beats the alternative. My grandmother often talks about how all her friends and everybody she knew in her day “up and died.” It’s sad to see people start dropping around you. Keep writing. I think it keeps you young and fulfilled.

You provided some good advice on wading through advice and feedback.

John Hansen from Gondwana Land on December 11, 2018:

Firstly, let me say that dan Fogleberg song is wonderful, especially from a poet's perspective. It's actually a very well-written poem.

Very relevant questions this week too. Ann's question about a book of linking short stories. I have also thought about that, or maybe a combination of short stories and poetry. I do think it would work, especially with her take-a-word series.

On Mary's question about criticism. I did join a writing site called Fan-Story. It is great for getting your work critiqued, has prompts and competitions that pay in various ways. the downside is that there is a monthly or yearly fee to be a member. I received some critique there that I didn't really feel was right, but when I had more than one agreeing I had to take it seriously.

Thank you for recommending the Creative Exiles to Rodric. We are always welcoming new members, especially a writer as prolific as Rodric. Glad to hear he has already applied. To Liz, yes it is aimed at creative writing, but we do have a section for travelogues etc and Bill De Giulio did a guest article for us there.

A good read again, Bill, but I can't believe how long this has been going.

.

Rodric Anthony Johnson from Surprise, Arizona on December 11, 2018:

John, I thought too that the problem was more than the links. When I removed the links, however, the articles featured. You still could be right because I have a few hundred articles that have links in them of the same type. I might have too many links or it seems promotional, I don't know. I am going to go back to Bill-casting my articles. In other words, put them out and move on.

Rodric Anthony Johnson from Surprise, Arizona on December 11, 2018:

Kristen, thanks for those tidbits of information. I have since gone to sign up for them as started posting in Mylot. Apparently, several years ago I had already signed up for Upwork. I have to build up my credibility there. Thanks for answering the questions. Bill was definitely right about people like you being willing to help. I am very appreciative.

Rodric Anthony Johnson from Surprise, Arizona on December 11, 2018:

Bill, I already knew what your opinion would be from reading your other writings. I wanted to throw the question out there anyway just out of frustration. The HubPages approval seeking is in my veins. I tried it your way for a month and everything was great. I was featured anyway when I did not care. As soon as one became unfeatured, I cared again. I am going to have to work on that. I will admit, however, that the moderators have helped me improve my writing a little. Mostly my learning comes from you and other good writers, but I have to give HubPages the credit it deserves. I think I want to take up your position and gain and write without fetters.

Also, in answer to my first question, thanks for that info. I went and signed up for the Creative Exiles and the Writers Cafe. I will see if I can keep up my schedule to write between all of these places.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on December 11, 2018:

Look at you, Rasma, Ms. Overachiever! Congratulations my friend.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on December 11, 2018:

Mike,love the HP pension fund line. Too funny! And all too often I have found myself to be the oldest in the room. Not funny at all!!! lol

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on December 11, 2018:

Bill, I do believe most writers are fragile beings with regards to their writing. I haven't met many who weren't.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on December 11, 2018:

All true, Mary,and that is the tradeoff for sure. I don't blame HP at all for wanting to make a profit. I just think they need to work on their people skills a bit.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on December 11, 2018:

MizB, regarding your hook question, my hook was starting with the ending..I was trusting people would find that interesting enough to want to know how we got there.

As for the chickens, it's not the cold, although that will sometimes alter their laying habits for a few days. It is the lack of sunshine. Chickens need 12-14 hours of light or they usually won't lay eggs.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on December 11, 2018:

Thanks Manatita! It still gets me from Point A to Point B, so no complaints. :)

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on December 11, 2018:

I'm glad you stopped by, Suhail. Thank you sir!

Mr. Happy from Toronto, Canada on December 11, 2018:

"Now before you start thinking I’m obsessed with death, let me assure you I am not." - Haha! I just wrote some thoughts (which I will post probably after my late breakfast) and they also had some Death talk in it. I thought: ya, some people might think I have issues. Death is part of Life though. I see no problems talking about It.

"I’m busier than I’ve ever been" - Busy is good. The more important part for me is the transformation. If that's still happening then, I'm on the right path. If I'm not breaking down the bubble, or the cacoon and just running around like a chicken without a head then, I might feel like I'm "killing time". To each their own though.

"If you have friends and family read it, and they don’t want to hurt your feelings, they most likely will not give you an honest critique." - I'm all for hurting my feelings. Haha!! If someone succeeds then, I'm the one who has a problem. To be fair though, I do appreciate constructive criticism. Otherwise,if someone just doesn't like my tone, they can go shove it LOL I'm just kidding but I'm sure You get the point.

Now You got a photo of a toilet, haha!! You know ... You could take that purple poo from that other photo and photoshop it into this one. Just an idea lol (Don't mind me.)

"If they want to feature my work, fine. If not, also fine with me." - That's pretty much my bottom line on this issue too. Meh ... lol

Okay, breakfast time 'cause it past eleven lol Thanks again for the writing. I looked for it yesterday in the HP feed and didn;t see it. I went to your profile page today in distress. Haha!! Found it.

Cheers!

Rinita Sen on December 11, 2018:

Loving the endings these days :)

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on December 11, 2018:

Linda, you are a perfect example of why I love HP...the friendships are priceless. Thank you, friend!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on December 11, 2018:

You betcha, Pop! Thanks for stopping by.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on December 11, 2018:

It is my pleasure, always, Dora! Thank you!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on December 11, 2018:

Melissa, I only have one thing to say to you: Go Seahawks!!! lol Thank you always, my friend. Have a great week!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on December 11, 2018:

Liz,we do the same thing here on tv at New Years...sobering to say the least. I don't think either of those two sites are exclusively for creative writers. Check them out.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on December 11, 2018:

Shannon, linking has changed over the years on HP. I'm afraid it has passed me by, so I just don't do it any longer. :)

William Kovacic from Pleasant Gap, PA on December 11, 2018:

Bill, I have to admit, I never heard this before, "It’s just the way the pickle squirts." I like it. I thought Rodric's question about links was interesting. When I write a series, I always link to the past installment and to the next installment. I've never had any problem. Just wondering if the problem could be something else other than the links. Thanks for another wonderful mailbag.

Alyssa from Ohio on December 11, 2018:

Four and a half years of mailbag? That's amazing! Excellent advice this week. I always shy away from linking in Hubpages simply because the editors always take them out. Then I get a little chastised in the email for linking. It's always a little difficult to gauge what the editors or moderators want.. because it seems like it's different each time. At this point, I just write. If they like my work, cool. If not, cool. Que sera sera.. Hope you have a great week, Bill!

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on December 11, 2018:

I didn't realize you had been writing for the mailbag for that long. I enjoy the variety of questions you answer. I try to be open to constructive criticism, but sometimes it is not easy. Have a great week.

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on December 11, 2018:

Time flies so quickly, can’t believe four and a half years has just flown by. Interesting questions and answers, thank you for sharing. Love the song by Fogelberg.

Brian Leekley from Bainbridge Island, Washington, USA on December 10, 2018:

A classic example of a book of short stories with a theme is the 1919 book WINESBURG OHIO by Sherwood Anderson.

Gypsy Rose Lee from Daytona Beach, Florida on December 10, 2018:

Florida has been thrown into the fridge. The nights are so cold but I am doing the dance of joy. You might already know since I posted on FB but I have just come out with my second book of poems On the Wings of Love. This time only love poems. Always so glad to find a mailbag waiting to be read.

mckbirdbks from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on December 10, 2018:

Hi Bill - 4 1/2 years wow. Another few months you will be vested in the HP pension fund. lol Interesting questions and insightful answers. The fine either way answer is my favorite here.

As for that whole getting old 'thing' what can be said? I am amused when I go to gatherings and am the oldest person in the room. 'The good die young,' so I have heard. In Richard Bach's Illusions he states, 'if you are still around, your job is not done yet' or some such.

Bill De Giulio from Massachusetts on December 10, 2018:

Hi Bill. The criticism question is a tricky one as you point out. Why is it that we seek constructive criticism of our work, yet it hurts our feelings when we receive it? Is it that we are really expecting a glowing critique, and what we seek is to have our ego massaged. And, when we don’t get it we are disappointed and upset. I don’t know the answer, which is why for what I write the only critique I request is from my wife.

Great lyrics from Dan Fogelberg. Have a great week.

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on December 10, 2018:

I think that each platform has its own requirements based on their goals and it used to be that we can write whatever and however we like but not anymore as platforms want to get more profit from their investment. You can have your own blog so you can do whatever you want but you just don't have the marketing support you get in platforms like HP and promoting your own articles take so much time.

Doris James MizBejabbers from Beautiful South on December 10, 2018:

Bill, it’s a cold “a” Monday in the South, and here I am sicker’n a dog eating…, well I won’t finish the phrase, but I’m determined to visit with you anyway. Today’s questions hold such validity for us writers. I really relate to Ann’s. I talk a lot about a novel I got half written a decade ago, and have never figured out how to finish it. Part of my (maybe imagined) problem is that it seems to be a collection of short stories linked to one character, and it has no hook. Maybe I need to talk to Ann about this. But in your book, did you have a hook to reel the reader in?

Criticism. I used to run my writing by a certain colleague at work, but then I stopped when I realized that his sometimes harsh criticisms were his attempt to inject his personality into my papers. That type of criticism was not valid. I was working on my masters degree then and I just couldn’t allow that. An editor or other critic should not do that, so as a writer, watch for that and don’t let it happen.

I have a non-writer question for you: Do your hens stop laying in freezing weather? Mine seem to have stopped. Have a great rest of the week…and stay warm.

manatita44 from london on December 10, 2018:

Thanks Bill.

We are growing younger in Spirit. Damn that body, eh? Joke, Bro, after all, it is still helping us no end.

Another awesome read. Have a great evening!

Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent from Mississauga, ON on December 10, 2018:

Hi Bill,

This time I thought I would leave a message. I have been reading your mailbags just to stay positive in my life and learning too, of course.

Btw, I agree with you; that featured and unfeatured aspect is outrageous.

Regards,

Suhail

Linda Lum from Washington State, USA on December 10, 2018:

Four and one-half years? Bill, the Simpsons have created a few more episodes than you've written mailbags, but your quality is MUCH better. I'm not exactly sure when I jumped on the bandwagon, but I know it was early in Year No. 1.

So glad we met, and so many friendships I've acquired along the way because of you.

breakfast pop on December 10, 2018:

Thanks for the names of other sites. I will look into them.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on December 10, 2018:

The first questions could have been mine. Thanks Ann for voicing my thoughts and thank you, Bill for this and all your answers.

Melissa Propp from Minnesota on December 10, 2018:

Happy Monday Bill! At the risk of offending anyone, "Baby, it's cold outside!"

It's interesting how many different writing sites have come and gone while Hubpages has managed to hang in there. I guess they must be doing something right (besides the awesome individuals we connect with) to have been able to keep on going.

Hope you have a happy and productive week!

Liz Westwood from UK on December 10, 2018:

I look forward to my weekly dose of writing wisdom in your articles. In the UK around New Year, they have a habbit on TV of going through all the celebrities who have died over the past year, which is very sobering. I liked your illustration on the point of criticism. I noted the writing sites you mentioned with interest. I am guessing that these are more for creative writers rather than an aspiring travel writer like myself? I too struggle with the linking concept. At the moment I rely on people seeing similar articles on my profile page.

Shannon Henry from Texas on December 10, 2018:

Wow! It's been that long? It doesn't seem like it. Then again, it also does. What a paradox.

Glad you stuck around. You are such a loyal person and friend.

As for the link question. I had a link snipped from a hub not too long ago. I'd tried to link to a hub on the same topic that was relevant. However, when I link to other people's hubs or a site off network it often gets left alone. Or when I do a serial story and link to other chapters.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on December 10, 2018:

Thank you once again, Mary! I can always count on you to stop by from Brazil with your thoughts. Happy Monday to you, my friend.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on December 10, 2018:

Thank you Ann! I strongly recommend scratching that itch and making a book out of them...it may not sell but it will still be satisfying and that is a win!

Wishing you a music-in-the-park type of Monday

bill

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on December 10, 2018:

I think the same thing, Verlie! Why me? It makes no sense considering my early lifestyle. It does make me ponder. :) Thanks my friend and Happy Monday to you.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on December 10, 2018:

All great suggestions, Kristen I knew I could count on the comments. Thanks so much!

Mary Wickison from Brazil on December 10, 2018:

Wow, four and a half years, that is fantastic!

Thanks for answering my question.

Regarding Rodric's second question, I think the various links will show in the sidebar. Maybe not in order but they are often there.

Thank you for another wonderful mailbag again this week.

Have a great week.

Ann Carr from SW England on December 10, 2018:

I remember that song from ages ago! I can hear the music.

Thanks for answering my question. Yes, Chris should take it up too. I have a couple of themes I want to assemble some of my hubs around so when this *** house is done, I'll try to sort it out! One of them is the obvious 'Take a Word' series but that's not stories as such of course.

I was surprised to read that the Mailbag has been going for that long - it seems only yesterday! And look how successful it is, and always will be.

Ann

Verlie Burroughs from Canada on December 10, 2018:

Morning Bill, Just jumping right in here with regard to Rodric's question on linking articles. The community forum here has members who can answer that question, I've seen a few forum threads on it.

Back to your opening remarks Bill. It is odd, and it makes me wonder too, when so many friends and family are gone, why am I still here? I try not to dwell on it, but clearly we are not immortal.

Great mailbag today, thanks for the freebie!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on December 10, 2018:

Ain't it cool, Janine! I've never met you, probably never will meet you, and yet we are good friends because of HP. Very cool indeed!

Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on December 10, 2018:

Great mailbag Bill. For Mary's question, try to find a local critique group or find betas/CPs on Twitter or Facebook, mainly from pitch contests. I've been a member of an online crit group. If anyone's interested, I'll be happy to post the link. For Rodric, you can try Mylot, when you get paid for interacting with others other than posting short items. (There are other Hubbers there that I see too.) There's Upwork, when you can get paid as a freelance writer if you land a job. I've been successful there for 2.5 years.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on December 10, 2018:

Eric, the pleasure has been all mine. As for the islands, you wouldn't catch me taking a week off. I'd be a crazy man by the end of the 7th day. lol

Janine Huldie from New York, New York on December 10, 2018:

Cannot believe it has been 4 and 1/2 years, but still feels like only yesterday we met through Hubpages and here we are, friends, still many years later for which I couldn't be more thankful for that and you always! Happy Monday now and here is to the best of weeks ahead, too now :)

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on December 10, 2018:

Bill it is an immnense pleasure to have been with you all these years. A guiding light as I fumble though the the dark recesses of my writing mind. It is amazing that you have been so steadfast. (on the other hand maybe you should get out more ;-)

But you are in a groove. Do think that if you spent a week on the islands it would change your writing that much? Aside from not coming home maybe.

Let's make a home run every day this week!

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