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The Writer's Mailbag: Installment #324

Am I the Only One?

I was thinking the other day about the importance of music in our lives, and in particular how I can remember exactly what I was doing when a particular song was introduced on the radio, or how a particular song can remind me of a very specific event in my life. Am I the only one who experiences that? I doubt I am, for music really is an integral part of our lives.

I remember driving in the car with my dad when “Eight Days A Week” debuted on the radio. My dad, no fan of rock music, was actually impressed with The Beatles because they harmonized in that song. It was the first time he ever said anything positive about rock n roll, and I remember how happy I was with that fact. And how “Blackbird” will always remind me of singing that song to my son during his bedtime. I would tuck him in, kiss his head, and sing him to sleep, always that song, followed by “Golden Slumbers.”

And then there was “Angel” by Sarah McLachlan, which was played at the funeral of my fiancé in 1997; I’ll never be able to hear that song, for as long as I live, without crying just a bit.

And on and on we go. How about you? Does any particular song have a deep emotional meaning for you?

While you ponder that, let’s see what kind of mail we have today.

The Mail Room

The Mail Room

An Election Question?

From Mr. Happy: “Ohh, before I forget: what do You think of "proportional representation" as opposed to the "first-past-the-post" system of elections?”

Mr. Happy, I had to look up “first-past-the-post” before answering. Turns out it means a plurality system of elections, meaning the candidate who wins the majority of votes wins the election, completely at odds with our Electoral College system in the United States.

I taught Political Science for a number of years and, without a doubt, the hardest topic to teach middle school students, and high school students, was the Electoral College. They simply could not wrap their brains around such a strange system. And I have to admit it is bizarre, and it is confusing to many, but in a strange way I don’t mind it at all, mainly because it’s part of our Constitution, and I’m a big fan of The Constitution.

That’s the only reason, however, that I like it. I like the history of it and the tradition of it. On the other hand, in local elections, and in state elections, we do quite well with the plurality vote. So I can see both sides of the issue.

I know you were looking for a more definitive answer, but I don’t have one. I can see why people hate it, and I can see why people love it. As far as I know, it is uniquely American, and God knows we do some strange stuff in the U.S., so this fits in quite nicely. It would sure simplify things if we went with the plurality system for all elections; and it would have changed the results of several Presidential elections in the 2000’s.

The Mysteries of the Electoral College

The Mysteries of the Electoral College

Reviving Characters

From Greg: “Have you had characters who appeared only briefly in one story and then as you went back and looked at that story you wished you hadn't cut them short? And if that's the case, did you fix it so they could "come back" and you could do another story? Or do you just let them go and say goodbye?”

I had to think on this a bit, Greg.

I have a couple “stand alone” novels which probably cut a few characters a bit short, but I haven’t had any strong desire to do right by them with a follow-up novel. On the other hand, I have five books in my “Shadows” series, and I’ve definitely done what you suggest in those novels. The latest in that series, “Shadows Across The Pond,” delves into one character in particular, Striker, who I believe deserves the limelight much more than in the past. I started that novel determined to put Striker in the glaring light and give him his moment of fame.

That’s the beauty of doing a series. It gives a writer the opportunity to do as you suggest.

Great question, my friend!

Have I short-changed any of my characters?

Have I short-changed any of my characters?

An Excerpt From “shadows Across the Pond”

Since we have no other questions, I’ll wrap this installment of the Mailbag up with an excerpt from my latest Shadows book. I hope you enjoy it.

Scroll to Continue

Paris was not Striker’s favorite European city, not by a long shot. Parisians always seemed a bit uppity to him, a bit above the fray, as though their collective shit didn’t stink. He knew things about prominent members of the French government which directly contradicted the “no stink” attitude of the locals. Politicians were politicians, whether they saluted the red, white, and blue of the U.S., or the blue, white, and red of France, and ninety-nine percent of them had dirty hands and weren’t worth a bucket of spit, as his old man was fond of saying.

The cobbled streets of the Mouffetard/Jussieu District were filled with locals and tourists as Striker moved north through the Rive Gauche, or Left Bank, of Paris. He could smell the Seine River, three blocks to his left, the grand river of history splitting Paris in two, fouled by decay and pollution, but still loved by all who lived there. He passed sidewalk cafes, small art shops, markets, and street entertainers, noticing all, categorizing all, safe or threat, trusting in an innate ability to sense danger before it arrives, an ability which had led him safely through many deadly encounters.

For the time being, at least, he was safe. To his knowledge his arrival in Paris was unknown to his enemies, including the Shadow Man. How long that would be the case was up for debate. He remembered his sensei telling him that no one was truly invisible, that even the chameleon was seen by other chameleons. He patted the Desert Eagle strapped on his side. He smiled.

Here I am, Shadow! Come and get me!

He did not fear death, and that made him a most dangerous opponent. Fear crippled. Fear took split-seconds of reaction time away from a man, rendering him vulnerable, and Striker would not allow that to happen. There was either an afterlife, or there was nothing, when one died. Neither sounded particularly frightening to Striker, and he often wondered why so many true believers feared dying. It seemed counterproductive and a bit inconsistent to Striker.

Pain, on the other hand, should be, and was, feared by most humans, and that was completely logical to Striker. Pain was crippling. Pain could be incapacitating. Pain could rob a man of his principles, of his honor, and of his manhood. Pain could be used in any investigation. Killing was only an option when no other option was available. Pimps understood that truth. Abusive husbands understood it, as did CIA interrogators. You did not kill the goose who laid the golden eggs, not until every possible egg had been laid. At that point the goose was no longer valuable.

Back to the Music

Well, what song came to mind for you? Share with us in the comments below. Maybe there’s a reflective story in it for you, if you’ve got nothing better to do, of course.

Have a fabulous week! Try to find the time, if you would, please, to treat others with love and compassion along the way. I think, right now, in this time, it is the nicest gift you could give someone.

2020 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”


Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 15, 2020:

Very true, Lawrence! And it's up to us to make it better still.

Lawrence Hebb from Hamilton, New Zealand on October 14, 2020:


I thought it would bring a smile!

It's like Churchill once said, "Democracy is a terrible form of government, but its better than all the rest!"

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 14, 2020:

Thanks, Lawrence. It feels good to know I have someone to blame for this electoral college mess. LOL I actually love the Constitution, and I am a rare American who doesn't mind the Electoral College, but I am in a very small minority.

Lawrence Hebb from Hamilton, New Zealand on October 13, 2020:


My 'tune' would be a Hymn. When I see a huge Kauri tree, one that's hundreds of years old, or look up at the stars I can't help humming the tune 'How great thou art'. There's something Majestic and bigger than us at work!

As for the Electoral College I still remember reading a article by Bloomberg after the last US election, it said "Blame the British for Trump!" then went on to say when the constitution was written they wanted a means where all States would have a say in the election of a President, they wanted to uphold the idea of "No taxation without representation"

So you can blame us for the mess!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on September 17, 2020:

I really appreciate that, Zulma! I love the Striker character, and it's gratifying that someone else does as well. I'm really enjoying giving him some added depth in this latest novel.

Happy Thursday, Zulma!

Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon from United Kingdom on September 17, 2020:

Hi Bill.

What I like most about Striker is that, at first glance, he seems like your typical, one-note killer for hire. But if you follow the trail of breadcrumbs he leaves behind, you soon find a complex and nuanced character. I noticed it the first time he was introduced. Easily one of your best creations yet.

Have a lovely day, Bill.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on September 04, 2020:

Hi Mel! You are the first I've "talked" to who has any experience with the Desert Eagle. It is a serious weapon for serious purposes, no doubt about it.

Odd but yes, this Mailbag was all about politics. A nice change of pace, but odd nonetheless. A sign of the times, no doubt.

Mel Carriere from Snowbound and down in Northern Colorado on September 04, 2020:

The good old Desert Eagle. A friend of mine actually owns one and he brought it out while we were watching the last Super Bowl. Quite a cannon to be lugging around the streets of gay Paree.

I always get songs in my head that take me back to the day, just like you do. Sometimes they are great ones, other times they are silly, sappy ones I would rather forget, but they usually get caught in my head in a continuous loop.

Great political mailbag today. I guess your writer friends took the day off.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on September 03, 2020:

Yes, Barb, we definitely need it now.

Thanks for sharing about the Houston song. It's amazing, isn't it, that a song can trigger such a powerful response after thirty years.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on September 02, 2020:

Interesting reflection, Venkatachari M. Thank you for sharing that, and I can see how that would be a detriment and ruin the beauty of the music.

Venkatachari M from Hyderabad, India on September 02, 2020:

A very short mailbag indeed. But, I enjoyed the excerpt from your coming book. It is interesting.

Your thoughts about music are wonderful. I enjoy music very much by immersing deeply into the lyrics and tunes. But I do not like to associate any song with the real moments of life as it may disturb your feelings and create tension.

Barb Johnson from Alaska's Kenai Peninsula on September 01, 2020:

Hi Bill,

Thanks for the excerpt. Loved the suspense. Haven't had the time to start the series yet. You've just given me a reason to.

As for music, you are not alone. There are so many to choose from. You know I'm a music person. I love my hymns, contemporary and secular too. Good music is just good music. But one stood out as soon as you mentioned it. "I Will Always Love You." It was made famous by Whitney Houston. A friend thought it would be a comfort to me to have this song during the service for my late husband. It wasn't ! It made me sick to my stomach. Still does. Even after almost 30 years, it's still fresh. Music packs a lot of power. Thank goodness there's a plethora of encouraging, feel good music to get us through life. We sure need it now. Be Well

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on September 01, 2020:

I can relate to that quite well, Eric! Sure glad I'm no longer experiencing it, my friend. Life is better today.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on September 01, 2020:

I will have to look for that book, Flourish. I never heard of it, but I like the premise. Thank you!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on September 01, 2020:

I hope you do one day, Rajan! I hope you do!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on September 01, 2020:

If you do, Linda, let me know how it is. I'm afraid I'll never make it there. Thanks as always!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on September 01, 2020:

Thank you James! That movie always bothered me, but the tune is a classic. As for the Electoral College, for sure, the reasons are sound. I'm for it even though I understand why some people hate it.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on September 01, 2020:

Thanks, Bill! It would be nice if the election was straight-forward, with no doubts, but I sense this one will be tough all the way. Nobody is going to be happy when it ends, me thinks.

Happy September, Bill!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on September 01, 2020:

Alyssa, we've voted by mail for ten years now, the whole state, and no problems at all, nothing but convenience. I love it! And most definitely, I am excited about the arrival of September and cooler weather and leaves changing colors.

Happy September, my friend, and thank you!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on September 01, 2020:

Mary, that made me laugh. Thanks for sharing the story about dog poo. I would have cursed as well.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on September 01, 2020:

Lora, that is a beautiful memory about that black lab you saved. Thank you for sharing that. I got tears in my eyes reading that. I adore dogs. Period! End of story.

Change of leadership? Oh my God yes! Please! Soon! Can you imagine the vitriol if Biden wins and the Democrats take control of the Senate? We will be a socialist nation for sure . . . and I can hardly wait for it to happen.

Have a wonderful week, my caring friend.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on September 01, 2020:

Yes he is, Denise, and "Lady" is a great song! Very cool!

Blessings always


Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on September 01, 2020:

No, Mary, and I never will. lol I'll explain next week. As for ELO, I had forgotten about that group, even though I had one of their albums.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on September 01, 2020:

Mr. Happy, as a general rule, Washingtonians don't like Californians, so that pairing wouldn't work.

Democracy? What's that? Only in name, my friend, only in name.

You guys wouldn't want us as part of Canada. We could help pay your taxes, but that would be about the only value we would bring to the table.

Have a good one, my friend!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on September 01, 2020:

Good choices, Peggy! I loved the Carpenters, although they were an odd group for the 60's. I almost felt guilty liking their music right alongside Cream. lol

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on September 01, 2020:

A good choice, Chitrangada Sharan! Fall will always remind me of "Autumn Leaves."

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on September 01, 2020:

Exactly, Ann! I love theater as well. No way can I say that about opera. :)


Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on September 01, 2020:

Thank you Pamela! American Bandstand will always be a special memory for those of us who are a certain age. I loved it as well. I think I outgrew it rather than it being taken off the air too early.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on September 01, 2020:

Thank you Devika! I appreciate it.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on September 01, 2020:

Old 78 my mom and dad said it was a great song to dance to as they taught us 6 kids. Amos Milburn, "Let Me Go Home Whiskey". How fun to learn to dance with all the family.

And then again when I had to take a good hard look at my drinking. Didn't understand it while dancing but sure did when I was a practicing drunk.

Greg's question and your response kind of got me fired up.

FlourishAnyway from USA on September 01, 2020:

I like seeming minor characters in one story taking a stronger role in a subsequent story. That was a great Q&A. One book that did this well was Olive Kitteridge, a chapter book that had chapters that were about different people and situations in the same small town but they were all connected.

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on August 31, 2020:

You are right, Bill. There are several songs that are connected with important incidents in my life and hearing any of those songs immediately brings that incident alive. Paris is one city I have always wished to visit.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on August 31, 2020:

Thanks for sharing the excerpt from your book, Bill. Striker sounds like an interesting character. I'd love to visit Paris one day.

James C Moore from Joliet, IL on August 31, 2020:

The dueling banjo scene from "Deliverance" is a classic memory. Back then, a movie played at the show and came on television within a year or so later. So, I actually heard the banjos' duel on radio for a while not knowing it came from a movie.

The electoral college has its reasons. Roughly 1/3 of America's population live in the six largest states. We have 50 states. The nation's founders envisioned that without the Electoral College presidential candidates would likely ignore half or more of the country without it.

Bill De Giulio from Massachusetts on August 31, 2020:

I’ve never been a big fan of the Electoral College, but I understand why it was implemented. I think a lot of people would prefer a straight majority wins vote. Hopefully this election is straightforward with the winner wining the popular vote and the electoral college so there is no doubt. Something tells me, however, that it will be a mess.

Loved the Shadows excerpts. Have a great week, Bill.

Alyssa from Ohio on August 31, 2020:

Too many songs to count! haha! I'm a big fan of music -- I always have something on, even right now as I type this out.

A fantastic mailbag, as always. The electoral college is something else, and that's all I'll say on the matter. Political science has always fascinated me.. and let me say, I'm pretty impressed with my Secretary of State today. Guess who doesn't need to waste printer ink on an absentee ballot application this year. (That's right, me.) We have voted by mail for the past six years and it is so convenient! I can't tell you how excited I am that I don't need to print off those applications. It's the simple things. haha! :)

But I'm getting off track here.

Anyway, I don't know about you, but I'm looking forward to a brand new month. I hope you have a wonderful week!

Lora Hollings on August 31, 2020:

Hi Bill! I loved your excerpt from your book, "Shadows Across the Pond." Wonderful building of suspense and piquing our interest about what is going to happen next to Striker. You are a master storyteller, that is for certain. I can't wait till I have a little more time to indulge myself in your fascinating series. I love any kind of music- popular, folk or classical. I often think of certain songs when I have moments of flashback in my life of particular events or stages in my life. I find it to be comforting and spiritually renewing. The second movement of the Barber Violin concerto will always remind me of saving a beautiful black lab, when I was on interstate 10 heading west from Alabama. I named him, Yehudi Menuhin, after the famous violinist as I was listening to that very lyrical second movement, when I saw him dashing across four lanes of the highway and stopped on the shoulder of the road to fetch him. Luckily, I had dog biscuits in my car (as us dog owners usually have those kinds of things on hand, especially those who rescue!) I had Yehudi along with my two dogs and two cats for 9 months before I found a great home for him. He wasn’t house-trained and he was kind of a feral dog so he was a bit of a challenge! I had to keep him primarily gated in the kitchen as he didn’t get along with one of my dogs and I wasn’t too sure of what he would do around my cats! But he just loved people and, every night, he would put his big paw in my lap and I would kiss him on the head before I went to bed. It became a ritual and I would always hear that Barber violin concerto as he would do this. To this day when I hear it, I think of sweet Yehudi.

I really would like to see a change of leadership for our country this November! And I hope with all my heart, that more people will get out and vote! This will make a huger difference. Voting is such an important right. Indifference to who is in power will never bring the positive changes that we seek. I would like to see leaders who are much more concerned about our environment, our health, education and realize the importance of cultivating the arts in our schools rather than eliminating them. Without the arts to feed our souls and enrich our minds, what is our future?

Here are my questions for you. Does Striker have a love interest in any of your stories? I think of Sherlock Holmes and how his feelings for Irene Adler were more platonic and based on an admiration for her wit and cunning. Does Striker ever have flashbacks about those that he might have had an emotional attachment to in the past or think about events that happened earlier in his life that helped shape his life in the present?

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on August 31, 2020:

Songs of Jim Croce. They are songs my husband first shared with me and he would always have tears in his eyes when he listened to it.

Thanks for sharing excerpts of your novel. I look forward to reading it. I have a love and hate relationship with Paris. I once stepped on dog poo there and I cursed I was never going back there as I walked back in our hotel with its beautiful carpet. Of course, I had been back several times.

Denise McGill from Fresno CA on August 31, 2020:

"Lady" by Kenny Rogers. My husband used to sing it too me before we were married and I hadn't had anyone sing to me before. That man is enchanting--glad I married him.



Mary Wickison from USA on August 31, 2020:

Hi Bill,

Regarding a song, yes it was 'It's a living thing' by ELO. I was driving the car and my sister and I were singing. I got in an accident that was my fault. No one was hurt other than bruising but my mom's car was a write off.

As we enter the last few months before the US election, have you written anything with a main character as a politician? If not, why?

Have a great week.

Mr. Happy from Toronto, Canada on August 31, 2020:

I had no idea You were going to answer that question here because it has nothing to do with writing. It was just a personal question I asked since You are going through an election.

What amazes me is how much not only Americans but the Brits and the Canadians as well, talk about democracy when the electoral system is actually not democratic.

A democratic vote is when everyone votes and the majority, which is 50+1, wins. That does not happen in the US. It does not happen in Canada and it does not happen in the UK. So, perhaps we should stop talking about how democratic we are because we clearly are not. Haha!! And I did mention at some point that I am allergic to hypocrisy.

How about a new country: California and Washington? I'm hearing things LOL Ya, I know You're not going to like that idea because You said You like the Constitution and I presume it is the same Constitution which had the Three-Fifths Compromise.

I actually don't like the idea of a new country made-up by Washington and California. I have a better idea: the US joins Canada but Americans only get 1/3 of a vote, just so You do not ruin the social fabric of this country lol jk

Alrighty, enough of my nuttiness. You be safe and all the very best!

P.S. My father who is about your age started learning how to play the accordion. It's doable about that guitar lol

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on August 31, 2020:

"We've Only Just Begun" by the Carpenters was playing as my husband, and I was heading off on our honeymoon over 49 years ago. That song will instantly zap me back in time.

"Where Have All The Flowers Gone" reminds me of my brother Jim and me singing to his strumming of his guitar back in the 1960s. Beatles songs, in general, take me back in time to my high school and college days. Many songs bring back memories.

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on August 31, 2020:

Happy Monday Bill!

Pleased to read your first paragraph. I love listening to good music, classics, folk, or any soulful music, irrespective of any language.

Since September is knocking on the door, I was thinking about the theme song of, ‘Come September.’ Of course, there are many more.

Thank you for sharing another set of questions and answers.

Ann Carr from SW England on August 31, 2020:

I feel the same about opera. I love theatre but opera spoils a good play and, usually, I can't understand the language!!


Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on August 31, 2020:

I also love music. I remember running home from school when I was very young to watch American Bandstand. I also remember by girlfriend and I dancing all the time. The Beetles were so exciting to me when they came to the US. There are numerous songs I really liked. I loved the Eagles when they were becoming popular and the list goes on and on.

I don't like political discussions for the internet. I do remember my history teacher explaining the electoral college. He said a few big cities, like NYC, Los Angeles, etc. would decide the election without it.

I really enjoyed reading that portion of your newest book. It sounds very good. Have a great week, Bill.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on August 31, 2020:

I enjoy listening to music online from my place of birth. It is usually music from the 70s, 80s, 90s, and today, No specific.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on August 31, 2020:

Umesh, thanks for sharing that old Elvis song. It was a favorite of mine during the 60's; such a beautiful song.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on August 31, 2020:

Marlene, I had forgotten about that movie. Billy Dee Williams was too damned handsome. I was jealous of him lol Thanks for the memory, my friend.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on August 31, 2020:

Thanks for stopping by, Peg! I think I'll answer your question about protesting in next week's Mailbag. A quick answer is this: it's not nearly as bad in Seattle as people would believe, but in Portland it is as bad, if not worse. The news agencies love to grab the sensational and run with it.

As for music, I wish I had learned the guitar. Now I fear it's too late, but I sure wish I had.

Umesh Chandra Bhatt from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on August 31, 2020:

I remember in my university days I was studying always with some music in the background. Generally old melodious songs. Slow but very effective. No doubt some songs have work and place asdociation also. Later, I listened one slow English song which affects us more than a fast song. It is a well known song ...

Wise men say, only fools rush in.

But I can't help falling in love with you.

... I have association with this while walking. I walk slow.

Marlene Bertrand from USA on August 31, 2020:

The song "Do You Know Where You're Going To?" by Diana Ross is the theme song for Mahogany. The movie aired in 1975. I thought this movie, featuring Diana Ross and the all-too-handsome Billy Dee Williams was one of the most romantic movies of all time. There is a lot of sadness in the movie, but also a lot of romance. When I hear that song, it makes me cry because of the meaning behind it.

Peg Cole from North Dallas, Texas on August 31, 2020:

Wonderful topics in today's mailbag, Bill. I like your explanation of the electoral college and its history. The fact that our founding fathers were smart enough to consider the less populated states in voting and allowing their voices to be heard is nearly as significant as the endurance of our Constitution.

I've been wondering how the latest developments of protesting have affected you in your region of the country? It's hard to know what to believe anymore, even when we see it with our own eyes. Videos can be cherry picked to show only one side of any message like text and scripture can be done.

About music, it's hard to narrow it down to any one song. I dated a performing musician for a time and any song of his can bring back incredibly strong memories - good and bad. I remember learning to play Blackbird on the guitar, learned the finger-picking intricacies and actually could play it for a short while. Wish my hands would obey my mental commands these days, but alas. . . Nice that you made sweet memories with your child, singing it to him. Sweet.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on August 31, 2020:

For me, Heidi, it's the 80's and 90's which I have scrubbed from my memory banks. I know more current music than I remember of the 80's. Not sure why that is, but I suspect drinking had something to do with it. lol

Happy Work Week to you! I hope you get that rain.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on August 31, 2020:

I love Striker too, Sha! Maybe that sounds a bit egotistical, but his character has always fascinated me, and I love developing him in this latest novel. I hope you approve.

Take care my friend. Brighter days are ahead, although I wouldn't be able to give you a time frame on that. :)

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on August 31, 2020:

Thank you Ann! We are of the same period in time with regards to music. Cream will always be one of my favorite groups. Simon and Garfunkel, my God, what talent and what lyrics they shared. Great memories for sure, my friend.

Now I'm all over the place with music. I still can't sign on with opera. I can appreciate the talent, but that's about it.

Anyway, I hope your week is brilliant in every way.


Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on August 31, 2020:

Oh, I seriously doubt that, Linda! I like everything you write, so no worries. There are very few things which truly upset me, so chances are slim your article will bother me. Let's find out, shall we?

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on August 31, 2020:

I love that passage, John! Thanks for sharing it. It's really interesting which songs and which lyrics we find importance in, isn't it?

I love that you lived in a trailer for a time. I think everyone should have that experience at least once. :)

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on August 31, 2020:

Thank you Rosina! I like the Page lines you shared. So very true!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on August 31, 2020:

It's an interesting question you have posed, Liz, and my short answer is yes. A longer answer will arrive next Monday. Thank you for your kind words about my novel. I do love writing a series. I think it provides many advantages.

Heidi Thorne from Chicago Area on August 31, 2020:


Re: Electoral College. Yes, a popular vote would be ideal. But each candidate wins/loses in each state. Arguing how your vote doesn't count is not reasonable. If you don't vote, your candidate can't get the majority needed to win your state. Your vote counts, even in the Electoral College!

Re: Music and Time. Music is so time bound in our memory. And I think we tend to remember some music eras more than others, even if we've lived through many. For me it's the 70s and 80s. I can barely remember anything from the 90s to now. Recent stuff comes and goes for me. Not that I dislike it. It just doesn't do anything for me.

Speaking of time, I gotta run. Luckily a break from the 90s temps is making it bearable. And I don't want to jinx it, but it looks like we might get some rain tonight. Doin' my rain dance. Have a great week!

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on August 31, 2020:

Bill, there are so many songs that put me in a specific place at a specific time. Most of those songs are from the '60s and '70s. At the moment I can't think of any one song; there are so many!

I'm an American who doesn't understand the Electoral College. To me it makes no sense. Why bother voting if in the end, the majority doesn't rule? Guess I'll have to come back at lunchtime to watch the video.

Thanks for the excerpt from you latest in the "Shadows" series. I love Striker!

Ann Carr from SW England on August 31, 2020:

We have a first past the post system in Britain. It works ok I think. Many have suggested proportional representation which is fine until there's a close result - apparently, many of these in other countries have ended in coalition governments who never get much done!

Music - well, it rules my life! Cliff Richard and Duane Eddy featured in my very young days, as my older sister (by 8 years) had a 'dansette' on which she played her records. The Everly Brothers (Claudette) featured too. Then there were The Beach Boys in my teens, especially California Girls and Catch a Wave. Later, when at college, there was Simon & Garfunkel's 'Bright Eyes', and rock bands like Cream and Deep Purple. You mentioned Eight Days a Week, which was always a big favourite. My Mum used to love the Beatles for the very same reason - the harmonies - and she was a classical pianist! An eclectic taste, my Mum had, for which I was grateful.

Now I love all sorts, but the list is too long for here. Maybe a hub going down memory lane...!

Your description of Paris in 'Shadows across the Pond' took me down memory lane too - great writing, bill!

Great mailbag of course, bill!


Linda Lum from Washington State, USA on August 31, 2020:

Good morning Bill. Hymns sung at funerals, songs I sang to my babies--all of them bring back memories, some decades old. I'm enjoying the glimpses of your new novel. I've been to Paris, so seeing it through Striker's eyes will be interesting. Have a great week.

By the way, I'll be honest and tell you now that you won't like the article I'm publishing tomorrow. Please don't hate me for it.

John Hansen from Australia (Gondwana Land) on August 31, 2020:

I love the "Shadows Across the Pond" excerpt. As for songs....good question. I remember a song called "Last Game of the Season" by a singer called David Geddes. I had not long finished graduating from High School.

"He's just the blind man in the bleachers

To the local home town fans

And he sits beneath the speakers

Way back in the stands

And he listens to the play by play

He's just waiting for one name

He wants to hear his son get in the game"

I had moved into a caravan (you call trailer) in a van park with a school friend for a couple of months while we were taking a break while waiting the results of job applications etc. and this came on the radio. Loved it then, still love it now.

Rosina S Khan on August 31, 2020:

Right now the following lines by Tommy Page are ringing in my ears:

"Everyone needs a shoulder to cry on

Everyone needs a friend to rely on..."

I loved the excerpt from your latest Shadows book.

Thank you, Bill for today's mailbag. Have a great start into the week.

Liz Westwood from UK on August 31, 2020:

Interesting reflections on music. There are several songs now that I never hear without being reminded of a friend's funeral nearly 3 years ago.

With news focused on COVID-19, it's easy to forget that, across the pond, you are in presidential election year. I was interested to learn a little more about your electoral processes.

I can see an advantage of writing a series, in terms of character development. Do you ever have a character in mind and then find that, as you write, you end up developing them in an unexpected way due to the path that your plot takes?

I enjoyed the excerpt from your next book and the virtual trip to Paris balanced out with a bit of character development.

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