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The Writer's Mailbag: Installment #354

The Atmospheric Battle

March is a fascinating month for those of us who are weather nerds, matched only by November for really cool activity. During those two months, there is a tug-of-war between two seasons, with March giving way to Spring, while Winter protests, and with November, Fall desperately trying to hold on while Winter demands its time. (I know, that was an awkward sentence, but so be it)

Warm air vs cold air, a Battle Royal thousands of feet above us, and that battle creates our most interesting weather, warm temperatures giving way to the cold, hail and snow and bright sunshine, calm days and whirling windstorms, a veritable weather dictionary on display, and each day we peek outside to see what we should be wearing for clothing.

I would love to say I have some great metaphor for all of this, but this was really just about the March weather. LOL

And Happy April-to-be!

Shall we begin the mail?

The Mail Room!

The Mail Room!

More on Colons

From Mr. Happy: So about that: "Actually, in your example above, a colon really isn’t called for at all". Just curious to decipher this. A colon as described by Merriam-Webster dictionary: "It's typically a mark of introduction, used to let the reader know that what follows the colon has been pointed to or described by what precedes the colon."


"It is a very sad thing to see:" - This points to the next part ("to see" is the "pointing" indicator LOL)

"this violent opposition to the change that is inevitably coming because:" And this "because" points to the next part.

"where are the Sumerians now?"

There are three distinct parts to me, here. From a strictly technical standpoint, what do You think?

Mr. Happy, what you say is technically true, but technically, in this instance, is clunky and does not flow. For a better “read,” try it with just commas, as in the following: It is a very sad thing to see, this violent opposition to the change that is inevitably coming, because, for example, where are the Sumerians now? Or you could go with . . . inevitably coming. Take, for example, the case of the Sumerians. (Make two sentences out of it. It reads much better that way)

This is one of those gray areas in the English language, and that’s the best answer I can give you.

March at its worst!

March at its worst!

Source for Pictures on Hp

From Brenda: “I am having a problem placing my source for pictures in the correct area on hubpages. I mostly use my mobile phone right now...so maybe I need a different browser. I use chrome mostly and it will not let me copy & paste into the source area. I input everything by hand which is time consuming. I could just simply list Pixabay, but I want to give credit where it is due.

Any suggestions?”

Brenda, I’m not a tech guru. If it were me, I would just say “Pixabay” and be done with it. Maybe one of the other readers can shed some light on this in the comments, but I really think you have done your due diligence on this and you can move on. Believe me, if HP has a problem with it, you’ll hear from them pronto.

Credit where credit is due . . . I don't know where this pic came from, so there you go!

Credit where credit is due . . . I don't know where this pic came from, so there you go!

Kindle Direct Publishing

From Robert: “How hard is it to publish on Kindle Direct? Is it different for paperbacks vs ebooks? What was your experience?”

Robert, it’s a mixed bag. For the most part, I find publishing on Kindle Direct to be very easy. The first time is awkward, simply because most people do not know how to format a Word Doc so that it translates to the Kindle Direct format/template, but once you learn that, it is pretty clear sailing.

The only real problem I have with self-publishing is the creation of a book cover. I have zero confidence in doing that, and I have zero desire to learn how to do it, so I farm that task out to a HP friend of mine who, like me, works cheap. LOL If he didn’t do my covers for me, my answer would be completely different on this question.

Anyway, overall, pretty easy with the occasional problem, that would be my summation of Kindle Direct.

By the way, I also used Lulu once, and found that fairly easy as well, so there you go!

Oh Fine, Let’s Talk About Life

I couldn’t help myself. I had to return to the weather discussion and toss out some observations.

At least half of my life resembled March. I was in a tug-of-war for supremacy, within myself, and that’s one hell of an upsetting battlefield. The Angels of Darkness against the Angels of Light, no hyperbole there, wake up, struggle, wake up, struggle, knowing the true path but often veering out of control down a path overgrown with weeds and all manner of dangers, that was my life.

Eventually the Angels of Light prevailed, with the help of other angels, and my March turned into April, and May, and now calmer skies are my default setting, and my body warms under balmy temperatures.

But I remember what it was like.

And I vow not to return there ever again.

Join me in saying goodbye to March, and a welcoming Hello to April!!!!!

Questions for the Mailbag? Include them in the comments below, or shoot me an email at holland1145@yahoo.com.

I leave you, today, with the genius of Joni Mitchell:

“Rows and floes of angel hair
And ice cream castles in the air
And feather canyons everywhere
I've looked at clouds that way

But now they only block the sun
They rain and snow on everyone
So many things I would have done
But clouds got in my way

I've looked at clouds from both sides now
From up and down, and still somehow
It's cloud illusions I recall
I really don't know clouds at all”

2021 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

Comments

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on April 02, 2021:

Happy April, Chitrangada Sharan! You are never late for the Mailbag, my friend. I appreciate you!

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on April 01, 2021:

Hello Bill!

I am late for the mailbag, but I am happy it still appeared on my feed. Enjoyed going through your introductory paragraph, ( about the change of seasons).

As always, helpful questions and answers too.

Happy first day of April. Stay Safe. Thank you for sharing.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on April 01, 2021:

Well Happy April, Linda! We made it, finally! I hope it's a great month for both of us, my friend. Thank you!

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on March 31, 2021:

I love your description of March as a tug-of-war between two seasons. That applies to where I live as well. I'm looking forward to the start of April!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on March 31, 2021:

Oh, Mel, you opened up a snake's nest with that suggestion. I wish I could fit all that information into one article.

I'll see what I can do, buddy!

Mel Carriere from Snowbound and down in Northern Colorado on March 31, 2021:

Hmm...The grammar Nazis are really goose stepping across your mailbag, Bill. They really need some April sunshine to warm up their cold colons.

Anyhow, in your spare time, maybe you could write a hub about how to format a word document correctly for Kindle. I for one would appreciate it, because I plan to do it in the next few months. Great work.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on March 30, 2021:

Venkatachari M, you can have that heat. I am quite content with our summers here. I just wish summer would get here soon! lol Peace my friend.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on March 30, 2021:

Hopefully indeed, Devika! May you experience calm skies for years to come! Thank you!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on March 30, 2021:

Bill, as I've said before, I could not live in Florida. I would be homicidal/suicidal in a matter of days in that kind of heat.

Welcome home, my friend!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on March 30, 2021:

Heidi, it's just nice hearing from you, valuable or not. Thanks for always being here. Let's hope April is kinder to us all.

Happy Spring indeed!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on March 30, 2021:

Zulma, I doubt it seriously, but projects like these keep me out of trouble, so they have their value. :)

Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon from United Kingdom on March 30, 2021:

A grape arbour? Interesting. Will you be giving Welch's a run for their money, then? :D

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on March 30, 2021:

Ann, I got cut off! Sorry about that. Have a great week and Happy Tuesday to you!

bill

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on March 30, 2021:

Denise, the older I get, the more I philosophize. lol I think it comes with being an old man.

Thank you for being you, and blessings to you always.

bill

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on March 30, 2021:

Alyssa, warmer temperatures can't get here soon enough. I don't like hot, but is sixty asking for too much?????

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on March 30, 2021:

Thank yo u Mubarak! I appreciate you stopping by to comment. Blessings to you always!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on March 30, 2021:

LOL..Mr. Happy, after the colons, poling is nothing worth mentioning. :)

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on March 30, 2021:

There you go then, Mr. Happy. You achieved what you wanted to achieve with those colons. LOL You certainly woke up the community of grammar nerds.

I need to start planting seedlings. Thanks for the reminder.

Have a fabulous Tuesday, my friend.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on March 30, 2021:

Thanks Linda! I actually worked outside in the sunshine, yesterday, and it felt marvelous. More in store for me today, and I find myself actually excited about it. :)

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on March 30, 2021:

I agree completely, Mary! We have learned our lessons and there is no reason to ever return to those mistakes again. Thank you for that!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on March 30, 2021:

Thank you Misbah! That is very kind of you. I try to give back freely to the HP community, which has been very kind to me.

Blessings to you always

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on March 30, 2021:

Thanks John! Enjoy that weather. I have turned my attention to outdoor projects, and it feels so good to move around without layers of warm clothing.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on March 30, 2021:

Thank you Manatita! Every once in awhile, if lucky, you can sneak something by the Google Gods. lol Have a fantastic week, my friend.

Venkatachari M from Hyderabad, India on March 30, 2021:

Interesting perceptions about weather changes. I too feel that March and November match with each other as the nicest months of the year.

Our New Year starts this time, on 13th April. It keeps changing according to the stellar movements: some times falling during the last week of March and at other times during the first fortnight of April.

Our present temperature reading is 98 degrees. It peaks during the month of May.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on March 30, 2021:

Hi Bill where ever we live the weather plays the part. God weather coming on in Croatia. Hopefully more sunny days ahead. Thank you for a perfect write.

Bill De Giulio from Massachusetts on March 29, 2021:

Hi Bill. In the last 36 hours we’ve seen a lot of weather. We left Florida Saturday afternoon where the temperature was 90 degrees. We drove straight through to Massachusetts and here today it was about 50 degrees and very windy. During the drive up the east coast it rained for about 7 hours, the only thing we didn’t see was snow, thankfully To be honest the cool weather here feels great.

I love the Joni Mitchell lyrics, one of my favorites. Have a great week, Bill.

Heidi Thorne from Chicago Area on March 29, 2021:

Happy Mailbag Monday... and it's still Monday!

March is crazy in Chicago. We'll either have winter or spring storms, windy and cold, or we're in shorts and T-shirts. Currently, we have the windy and chilly, like the Windy City living up to its name windy.

Don't have anything valuable to add to the discussion today.

Happy Spring!

Denise McGill from Fresno CA on March 29, 2021:

My friend, you are quite the philosopher about March giving way to April, if reluctantly. As for the photo references, I would just put Pixabay. Too often the actual links get deleted and you have to fix them or delete them anyway. About the "The Scream," I realize that Edvard Munch didn't take the photo but the painting belongs to him and I would give him credit for the photo anyway. You can't go wrong giving credit where credit is due, can you?

Blessings,

Denise

Alyssa from Ohio on March 29, 2021:

I love your March picture, Bill! Looking at the snow in a photograph or on video gives a serene, calming effect, but I could do without it in real life. haha! I'm looking forward to April.. but I'm especially excited about summer! Bring on the warm weather and sunshine! Have an awesome week!

Mubarak from INDIA on March 29, 2021:

March is a better month with not too hot or not too cold. I liked the month of March and even I like your articles too. Thanks for sharing stay safe stay healthy.

Mr. Happy from Toronto, Canada on March 29, 2021:

omg "poling through t he earth" ... that was "pushing" lol

Mr. Happy from Toronto, Canada on March 29, 2021:

Thanks for the further insight into that colon thing. Yes, I want it not to flow there. I wanted it that part to be staggered. Comma would not be enough to slow those three parts down, the way I wanted. Haha!! Thanks though, I just wanted to know if it is grammatically wrong and since it isn't, I'm Happy. Awkward/clunky is fine in that instance.

I'll join You in saying goodbye to March: Good-bye March!

I already have basil growing, like little pieces of green hair poling through the earth. They're still inside but soon, we'll get to go outside and stay outside 'till fall.

That photo of yours with the snow though, that's rough. I haven't seen snow like that in over a month. Toronto doesn't get enough snow. It's like Toronto is not really Canada lol

Alrighty, off I go. Got a front porch to rebuild lol

You have yourself a good one -cheers!

Linda Lum from Washington State, USA on March 29, 2021:

Bill, yesterday was showers of pea-sized hail and this morning the sun is shining and the sky is blue. Go figure. Regarding punctuation, I know that some people say it should be at the discretion of the author, but grammar nerds (guilty) can find that jarring and distracting. For that reason alone, I think it's important to follow the rules.

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on March 29, 2021:

We just had a terrific March. Hopefully, spring comes early. My struggle may not be as dramatic as yours, Bill, but I agree with you not go back there ever again. I'm glad to be older now, with plenty of concerns having disappeared on the horizon.

Misbah from The Planet Earth on March 29, 2021:

Hi, Mr. Bill, Glad to see your mailbag. In Barcelona, we are having a nice weather, I feel very good whenever I read your work. You are very kind and helpful. I like the way you help people and answer their questions.

May God be pleased with you

Blessings always :)

Ann Carr from SW England on March 29, 2021:

I found this an interesting mix this week. The colon thing bugs me! As far as I'm concerned, I quite often use a semi-colon as an indication of a close link to what has gone before (closer than a full stop). If 'because' is used then that's a qualifier in itself so definitely does not need a colon after it! I have never ever come across that use, or heard it recommended (thank goodness!) and, as you say, it is cumbersome. So, I would urge anyone NOT to use it after 'because' or any other qualifying word/conjunction (as, then, but, if....). It is superfluous and not a good writing style because it hinders flow.

As for the publishing question, I'm grateful to you for including that video about kdp. It was helpful and encouraging. I'm in the process of designing the cover but am also thinking it might be better to get help. It needs a little more flair perhaps, so Mike might get a message soon!

Great mailbag and thanks for the email too!

Ann

John Hansen from Queensland Australia on March 29, 2021:

Hi Bill. Nice mailbag. It seems the weather gods are smiling on you. It is perfect here too with Autumn having just begun. We have had a nice amount of rain too, but not like New South Wales that have had severe flooding in many of the same areas that had the bushfires last year. Have a great week.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on March 29, 2021:

Brenda, I wish I had a better answer to your question, but HP is a bit flighty when it comes to that sort of thing. I have flown by with very sketchy information in the past, and HP never said a thing. Then all of a sudden they get very picky and toss out everything.

Sigh!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on March 29, 2021:

Pamela, it won't be long and you'll have that AC on daily. I don't know how you guys live in that heat and humidity. My goodness, I am miserably just thinking about it. lol

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on March 29, 2021:

Thank you Rosina! I'm afraid 31 degrees is much too hot for this old man. I would melt. lol

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on March 29, 2021:

Gyanendra, that is very kind of you. Thank you for such a lovely comment. I will try to live up to your praise. Thank you!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on March 29, 2021:

Greetings, Liz, and thank you for the question. I'm going to save that for the Mailbag next week.

Our weather is, in fact, very similar to the UK, or so I've heard from quite a few sources. You would feel right at home here in Olympia.

Stay safe, my friend, and thank you!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on March 29, 2021:

Thank you Peggy! March Madness indeed! That's a perfect summation.

Happy workweek to you, my friend!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on March 29, 2021:

Thank you Zulma! Sunny and 55 today. I'll be outside building a grape arbor. Oh joy!!!

Have a great week!

manatita44 from london on March 29, 2021:

You are lucky to get away with three verses there. The Google Gods missed it. Chuckle.

Another fine mailbag, number 354. Wow! Kudos to you, Bro. Regards to all at home this fine Monday. Yes, things are improving here too.

BRENDA ARLEDGE from Washington Court House on March 29, 2021:

Bill,

Thanks for addressing my question.

I think you are right. It would be less time consuming & easier to just put Pixabay.

I did hear from Hubpages each time about my source being listed in wrong place, so then I started inputting by hand at least on ones that go to Niche sites.

But it takes up too much time.

March does struggle to get through to April but I love it once the war is over and Spring arrives.

I'm glad you are no longer struggling.

Have a great week.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on March 29, 2021:

Happy Monday, Bill. The weather here is certainly warmer, but one day you need heat and one day you need air conditioning. That is how the end of March always goes. I wish the weather would make up its mind. LOL

You answered some interesting questions today. You did make the words flow better for Mr. Happy, and the publishing question was also interesting.

Have a great week, Bill.

Rosina S Khan on March 29, 2021:

In here at Dhaka it is pretty hot at 31 degrees centigrade. We have to put on AC to chill ourselves. I guess April will be cooler with rain showers.

Interesting mailbag. Thoroughly enjoyed it. Have a good start to the week, Bill. By the way, nice poem- loved it!

gyanendra mocktan from Kathmandu,Nepal on March 29, 2021:

Hi!! Bill

I am simply your fan. And I am your student too from the Himalayas. You are a humble soul who can decribe about anything in a beautiful way and bring them to the sunshine. Thank you.

Liz Westwood from UK on March 29, 2021:

Your climate sounds a little like ours in the UK. It's starting to warm up nicely for a few days, then forecasts predict a drop in temperatures. The option of escaping to a warmer climate is closed at the moment, so I guess we just have to get on with it.

Your comment on colons got me thinking about a recent conundrum. Whilst editing a friend's book I questioned the use of capitals for some words. It turned out that it was his style to capitalize what he considered to be key words such as army officers. Now an academic has questioned this. I tend to think that the author"s decision should be final and that rules are there to be broken if there's a good reason. What do you think? Are there times when writers are justified in breaking the grammar rules?

I understand Brenda's frustration, but I also appreciate your relaxed approach to photographic sources.

It is good to get your take on kindle publishing.

I hope that you have a good week, Bill and that the weather settles down. Stay well.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on March 29, 2021:

A good way to describe the weather tugs-of-war in March is March Madness. The storms that wreak havoc every year are powerful and destroy structures, and in some cases, people's lives. I am ready to turn the calendar page.

Your colon tutorial sounds good to me. Have a good week up there!

Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon from United Kingdom on March 29, 2021:

Hi Bill.

March is indeed an interesting month. You never know from one day to the next what's waiting for you out there. But there is the certainty of knowing that better days are on the way.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to listen to Joni Mitchell for a bit.

Have a lovely day, Bill, whatever the weather.

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